OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens’ contract talks with Lamar Jackson won’t be impacted by Dak Prescott’s record-breaking deal with the Dallas Cowboys, general manager Eric DeCosta said Tuesday.
“If you got to the Bentley dealership or the Range Rover dealership, you know what the cars are going to cost. You’re not going to get much of a discount,” DeCosta said. “They all cost about the same and you go in there with the idea that you’re either going to buy the car or you’re not going to buy the car. … In the end, they’re all very big contracts. They’re outstanding players. They’re quarterback deals. They’re marquee players and you know you’re going to pay a lot, but you’re going to get a lot in return.”
On Monday, Prescott agreed to a four-year, $160 million contract with the Cowboys that includes a $66 million signing bonus, the highest in NFL history, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Prescott’s average of $40 million per year ranks only behind Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes ($45 million per season).
DeCosta said he has had recent one-on-one conversations with Jackson around the framework of a long-term deal. But the sides haven’t begun formal negotiations and no contract proposals have been exchanged.
“We’re confident and committed to trying to get a long-term deal done and hopefully we can get that done at some point in the near future,” DeCosta said. “It might take a little time but we’re willing to try.”
Jackson, 24, is entering the final year of his four-year, $9.5 million rookie contract. He’s scheduled to earn $1.771 million in 2021 — which currently ranks 23rd among quarterbacks — after leading the Ravens to the playoffs in each of his three seasons and capturing the NFL MVP award in 2019.
Baltimore technically can keep Jackson from being a free agent through at least the 2023 season if it exercises his fifth-year option and uses the franchise tag. The process to sign franchise quarterbacks can be a long one. It took three years for the Cowboys and Prescott to strike a deal.
But DeCosta said his approach with Jackson won’t change by watching how talks unfolded in Dallas with Prescott.
“Every negotiation is different. Every player is different. Every GM is different,” DeCosta said. “We have a strategy and we have a relationship. Lamar has played three years, and you know what, he’s a good player. We really feel good about him. I think he really feels good about us. It’s up to us to get a deal done.”
DeCosta indicated that he doesn’t know whether Jackson will continue to represent himself or hire an agent.
According to DeCosta, he’s had a couple of talks with Jackson since the season ended and spent time with him a few weeks ago. DeCosta said they talked about the team, Jackson’s family as well as his goals and dreams for the future.
“We laughed a lot,” DeCosta said. “It’s been really healthy and really, really good. We started to talk about what a contract might look like, but we really haven’t necessarily gotten into all the weeds and the nuances of all those types of things but that will be coming at some point soon.”
DeCosta added, “We will be as transparent as possible with Lamar. He’ll be as transparent as possible with us. Certainly, it’s going to be a good relationship and partnership.”
DeCosta touched on other topics during his 36-minute news conference:
The Ravens have started preliminary contract talks with Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. “I love everything about Mark — his personality, his ability, his work ethic, demeanor, competitiveness,” DeCosta said. “He’s the type of guy we want to keep.”
DeCosta said there is no deadline on a possible trade of Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr., who expressed his desire to play left tackle on social media. “He’s under contract, and he understands that,” DeCosta said. “We’ll do what’s best for Orlando and we’ll do what’s best for the Ravens.”
The grievance with safety Earl Thomas is ongoing and won’t be resolved soon. Thomas was cut last August after he punched teammate Chuck Clark in practice. If the Ravens win the grievance, they will get an additional $5 million in cap space. If Baltimore loses, it will take away $5 million of cap room.