At his first press conference in more than five months, Raven’s quarterback Lamar Jackson spoke for about 10 minutes. He took nearly 40 questions from reporters on Thursday while several Ravens officials, including team president Sashi Brown, watched. He joked about the name of his new restaurant. He was delighted with the speed of the novice Tyler Linderbaum.
And they asked him, over and over again, about his future in Baltimore.
“It’s a conversation,” Jackson said of his contract negotiations with team officials, including general manager Eric DeCost. “That’s all. We just keep it private.”
As the Ravens finished their three-day mandatory mini-camp and set off off-season, their most important player left the crowded podium at Owings Mills, answering some questions, playing around with others and raising new ones.
Jackson, who enters the last year of his beginner agreement, reiterated early on his first session of questions and answers from 10 January to expect to play in Baltimore until the end of his career. “Yes,” he said, “yes.” Asked shortly afterwards whether the talks on the contract, which started again this week, could continue in the regular season, Jackson said: “We are talking.
He used a variation of that line eight times when examining the specifics of his negotiations, even when it seemed to contradict other statements he made on Thursday. At one point, Jackson said he did not “fell into the idea that, with his style, a double threat in Rajevens attack, should not play without the financial future. “I play football,” said the most valuable player of the 2019 NFL. “That’s why I’m here.”
At another point, Jackson said he plans to meet with his receivers before training camp at Florida Atlantic University, continuing the off-season training he began with Rashod Bateman and James Proche II in February. “Let’s go to work, watch a movie and just build our chemistry a little bit more,” he said.
But he asked if he would continue to play in the morning of the season without overtime, Jackson said: “We are currently in talks”, and they were bothered. Shortly afterwards, he was asked again whether he would participate in the team training team, which starts at the end of July, or play in week 1 without a new agreement, but he refused to commit. “We are talking about it,” he said. “I do not know.”
According to the league’s collective agreement, players face severe penalties for skipping training in camps. Teams are required to fine players who do not have contracts with beginners – which includes Jackson, who is in his fifth year – $ 50,000 a day for absences. DeCosta said in March that he did not expect Jackson to endure.
Jackson will earn 23 million dollars this season, which is a significant increase compared to his first four years in Baltimore. The contract extension would probably be worth over 40 million dollars a year, which is easily the richest job in the history of the franchise and among the largest in the NFL.
Appropriate to questions about his readiness for the agreement and scope of a possible framework, Jackson seemed to reject some comments from the owner of Steve Bishoty from March. At the meetings of the NFL owner, Bishotos told reporters that Jackson was “so obsessed with conquering superboulos that I don’t think he doesn’t think he was worthy. I think he wants to say it, ‘Now I deserve to be on top.’ People can speculate however they want. I don’t think money burns him that much and he knows it’s coming one way or another. “
Jackson said on Thursday that he felt worthy of the new deal, but added: “Still, I still want my Super Bowl.
Bisciotti also called Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, with a fully guaranteed five-year contract of 230 million dollars, “revolutionary”, and admitted that it would make some negotiations more difficult. “I don’t know if he should have been the first man to get a fully guaranteed contract,” Bischotti said.
Jackson, one of the few NFL players to introduce himself in the contract negotiations, said on Thursday that Watson’s agreement did not change his thinking about how to continue. “I am my own man,” he said. “I don’t care what these guys get.”
In February, DeCosta said the team was moving at “Lamar’s pace” in contract negotiations. Over the past year, Ravens officials have said they remain committed to signing a contract with Jackson for a long-term extension. If no agreement is reached, the team is expected to put a franchise label on it next year.
However, since Jackson was absent from the team’s voluntary practices in organized team activities, the situation in Ravens’ talks on the contract was re-examined. Jackson said on Thursday that his decision to skip the OTA for the first time in his career was not related to a contract.
“I just wanted to stay away and just grind,” he said. “I just wanted to go back and see how it feels. I feel good. I asked my guys how they would feel about staying at home. They were like, ‘You know, that’s cool.’ You know, I want to get some chemistry. They tell me, ‘I want to go to chemistry.’ I’m like, ‘Man, we’ll get it no matter when we get back.’
Jackson signed up to Minikamp on Monday from accumulated 220 pounds, and impressed the first three trainings from the exchange of a wide receiver and a close friend of Marquis “Hollywood” Brown. Quarterback coach James Urban said that it was clear that Jackson “did his job when he was away from us”.
Despite throwing in three interceptions in three days, Jackson impressed with his precision and his rhythm in a slightly altered attack by coordinator Greg Roman. His deep balls rarely fluttered, and it took him a while to reconnect with top targets such as secret Mark Andrews and Bateman.
“As for throwing and catching, and targeting and all that, and what you say – things about playmaking – I was happy to see that,” said coach John Harbo. “And I wondered about that – what would he look like?” Seeing him look so good, seeing his form, how well he threw the ball, that was all … for the coach, it’s exciting.
“There was only one Lamar Jackson ever in this league,” said Proce. “And the fact that the media do not respect him in the way they do is, as I said earlier, barbaric.
Urban called Jackson a “master” in ignoring “external distractions.” With five more weeks to prepare for the training camp, it is unclear how the contract negotiations will fit into his off-season plans. Jackson said a lot on Thursday, but not much.
“The football season has arrived,” he said at the end of his session. “So now we’re going to grind.”