Skip to main content

Transcripts: Lamar Jackson Contract Extension Press Conference (5/4)

Eric DeCosta opening statement:"We have a packed house. Thanks for coming, everybody. We've had some good press conferences this year, and we've had some bad press conferences this year. This is a great press conference. I'm very, very excited, thrilled to announce a five-year contract extension with our quarterback, Lamar Jackson. They say the best things come to those who wait. We waited for a while, and here we are." 

John Harbaugh opening statement:"I'm very excited, can't wait to get started. It has been a long wait, but we were all in the same place all along, and we're all in the same place moving forward. [I] can't wait to get to work." 

Lamar Jackson opening statement: "All I have to say is today I don't have any popcorn, but during camp, if you guys have great questions, I'll put it on [head] coach John [Harbaugh] – you guys get to come to the house with the players and us and have a good time." 

John Harbaugh:"Is that an invite for everybody?" 

Lamar Jackson:"Yes, that's an invite." 

John Harbaugh:"Is that your house or my house?" 

Lamar Jackson:"Your house." 

John Harbaugh:"Oh, OK." (laughter) 

Lamar Jackson: "Only the good questions, only the good questions [are] invited." 

Lamar, in March you tweeted out that you wanted a trade. A month later, you signed a record deal. What changed over that time? (Jamison Hensley) 

Harbaugh: _"You're not going to be invited to the house. _(laughter)I couldn't avoid it; that was too easy." 

_Jackson: _"Today, we're going to keep it about the future. I'm not really worried about what happened in the past; we're going to keep it about these next five years and keep it about what's going on today. It's a great day. A great day; I just signed with the guys up here. That's all I'm focused on right now." 

Aside from the trade request, this was a long process. You guys haven't shared details about the negotiations, but you've been eligible for an extension for over two years. What did change to make this a turning point where you were able to get a deal done over the last week? (Luke Jones) 

_Jackson: _"We just had some mutual agreements in the terms and stuff like that. It just fit the both of us, and it's why we're here right now." 

Lamar, when are you going to be at camp? When will you start, OTAs? _(Vinny Cerrato) _ 

Jackson: "OTAs? I'm going to be in; I'm going to be in soon. I'll be here soon." 

How would you describe your new offense, starting with your new offensive coordinator Todd Monken? (David Andrade) 

Jackson: "Actually, [offensive coordinator] coach Todd Monken reached out to me. We spoke a couple times, and I heard from the guys that the offense is looking pretty smooth. I just got my iPad a couple days ago, and from what I've seen, it looks different. I'm liking it so far." 

How much did the change in the offense and some of the free agent acquisitions play into your negotiations?_ (Morgan Adsit)_ 

Jackson: "We've been negotiating. We didn't really ever spot negotiating. We were always keeping in contact. [Executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta] reached out to me a lot, and I would comment back. [Head] coach [John Harbaugh] reached out to me, and we went back and forth with that. Definitely, having Odell [Beckham Jr.], and those guys reach out to me like, 'Man, we need you here.' It was like, 'I want to be there.' It's not like I want to leave anyways, it was business." 

What does it mean to you that head coach John Harbaugh and executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta never wavered in wanting you back here and seeing you as their quarterback? (Sherree Burress) 

_Jackson: _"It means a lot, just to have guys like your head coach and GM wanting you to be here, believing in you, believing you can help your team achieve the ultimate goal within football, and within NFL football at that. It's like … I wouldn't want to go any other place." 

Executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta had some nice things to say about your negotiating style. What would you say to people representing themselves going forward, and how much did you enjoy the process? (Kirk McEwen) 

Jackson: "It's a business. It's a business at the end of the day. If you're going to represent yourself, you have to have a strong mind. I wouldn't say you get out there and put your feelings in it because it's not about feelings. You can't take things with a, 'Oh yes, I don't like what you said. I don't agree with this.' What they feel is how you feel. It's a grown man thing at the end of the day, so you have to be a grown man if you're going to handle business." 

Eric, what went into your decision to use the non-exclusive franchise tag? To what extent were you worried that an offer sheet was coming and you might lose this player? (Bo Smolka)

DeCosta:"It was a tough decision. We spent a lot of time thinking about it, praying on it, trying as a group deciding what's best for the club. In the end, I guess we just felt like it was the best thing for Lamar [Jackson] to have the opportunity to kind of get a sense of what was important to him. He could have conversations if he wanted with other teams to see what his value might be, and he could get the chance to talk to other coaches or GMs – if he wanted to – to kind of get a sense for the landscape. You're looking at the exclusive [tag] … It's kind of binding in a lot of ways. So, free agency is a chance for players to go out and kind of see what their value could be, potentially. In the end, that was the decision that we made, hoping that we would be sitting here today; that at some point over the coming months – and we had our moments – but over the coming months, we would have the chance to negotiate again and get a long term deal done, which proved to be the case." 

Lamar, we know about the type of player you are, but not many of us know what type of agent Lamar Jackson is. How would you describe Lamar the agent? (Cordell Woodland)  

Jackson: "Just a businessman – that's how I describe him – nothing more, nothing less, because it's different than just playing football. You have to put the game outside, put that in one part of your life [and] you have to speak to a grown man with millions of millions of dollars and understand what terms and different languages. You have to understand what you're doing, and if you're not doing that, I feel bad for you." 

Last Tuesday, Eric said he was pretty down when Trae Young hit his three-pointer against the Celtics. He said you then saved his night when you texted him saying, 'I think we can get something done here.' What led to your text, and what led to your SpongeBob tweet? (Jamison Hensley) 

Jackson: "Actually, when I got my email from [executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and I was going of it, I was liking the language. I texted him – I was not watching the game – so I texted him, and I was like, like you said, 'I think we can get something done.' He was like, 'You just made my night. My Celtics just lost, so you probably just made my night.' I'm like, 'Alright.' Then, I got on social media, and I saw Trae Young hitting a three. I was like, 'OK, that's what he was talking about.'" 

Was the SpongeBob gif a message? (Jamison Hensley) 

Jackson: "Oh, definitely. The SpongeBob message was definitely a message to the [Ravens] fan base to let them know that we were moving on up." 

What did you learn about yourself during this process? It's been a long time that you were negotiating. Secondly, did you ever think that this wouldn't work out?_ (Brian Wacker)_ 

Jackson: "There wasn't anything that I learned about myself; I've known what I was capable of. I thought we would get the process done. I didn't have a doubt in my mind because – like they said – they love me, I love being here, I love my teammates and I love the fan base. I really love the fan base and my teammates, so I didn't have a doubt, really." 

You said you didn't have a doubt in your mind that a deal would get done, but executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta has said that there was a point where you weren't talking. What was it like for you during that period? (Jonas Shaffer) 

_Jackson: _"I had to grind. I probably didn't want to talk because I was grinding. I did have a PCL injury, so I was trying to get that all the way squared away, fully recover from that. That's probably when I wouldn't return text messages and stuff like that because I would probably be tired after a workout. I would wake up late and night, and all types of people are texting my phone. So, I probably wouldn't reach back out, but we got it done, so I'm not worried about it right now." 

When were you fully recovered from your knee injury, and how much did it bother you that there was so much outside chatter about how healthy you were and if you could play? (Luke Jones) 

Jackson: "I probably got better probably a month ago, for real. A month ago. It really didn't bother me because people don't know what's really going on. They're trying to reach and pull and trying to see if the club would say it, or would I come out and say it. Stuff like that, but we kept it in house. It's not anyone's business but ours." 

Did playing in a contract year ever weigh on you? Did you feel any pressure to perform being in a contract year? (Tim Barbalace) 

Jackson: "Absolutely not. I've been performing since 2018, so not at all." (Reporter: "Was there any extra pressure?") "Not at all. I want to win; I'm competitive. There's nothing more I want to do than be out there on that field, so no, not at all." 

There were reports that you were active in the recruitment process of WR Odell Beckham Jr., even though you had not signed a deal yet. Is that true, and if so, what went into you still wanting to bring a player in, knowing that you hadn't signed a deal here yet? (Kyle Barber) 

Jackson: "I saw Odell Beckham [Jr.] was recovering from his injury and stuff like that. He reached out to me, and I'm like, 'Are you thinking about coming to us? Because I'm still part of the Ravens.' I wasn't saying like, 'I don't want to go there. That's not my team.' It was like, I was hype about it. I have Rashod [Bateman], I have 'Duv' [Devin Duvernay], I have Mark [Andrews], I have [Isaiah] Likely. I have all of these guys and then a new addition like him with his resume … It's like we can improve our receiver room, and we can go somewhere. So, I was definitely like hype about that." 

We saw that you gave love to your mom after you agreed to the terms of the contract, and you keep a tight circle. Who were you leaning on during this process working as your own agent, and where did you find the most support from people around you? (Kyle Goon) 

Jackson: "She's my manager, so I felt like she managed me very well. Don't you think so? (laughter)I thought she did a pretty good job. If anything, we'll just go back and forth on terms and stuff like that. As I said, the language is going to overrun the numbers and stuff like that, so overtrump the numbers and stuff like that. So, it was just me and her piggybacking off of each other, and we got the deal done." 

Obviously, you know executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta pretty, and I'm sure the negotiations with the Ravens had a level of familiarity to them. What was it like when you were able to talk to other teams and learned about how other teams do business? (Kyle Goon)  

Jackson: "I really don't … To be honest with you, I really didn't care for other teams, really; I just really wanted to get something done here. I wanted to be here. It was like, 'OK, other teams [are] cool, but I want to be a Raven.' I said something in 2018 – I think it was April 26th, if I'm not mistaken – and I meant that. I'm standing on that until I get it done, so I really wanted to get this done before anything – before I even want to … Before my time [is] up, and I branch off somewhere else, I really want to finish my career here and win a Super Bowl here, so that's what I meant." 

You guys added WR Zay Flowers in the first round of the Draft. Did you talk to Zay? What do you know about him, and how excited are you to work with him? (Ken Weinman)  

Jackson: "Yes, Zay [Flowers] reached out to me; we spoke. We were supposed to work out, but I was working out and doing other stuff, so I couldn't really have time to. And he's going to be here for the rookie minicamp, so probably, when he gets back to Florida, me and him will get to work. And I'm very excited. He's well known down there in South Florida, from youth football on up, and it's proven; he's here now." 

You said in the video when you agreed to the deal that there was a lot of "He said, she said," using that expression. Is there a misconception about these talks and about this whole situation that particularly bothered you? (Jeff Zrebiec)  

Jackson: "No, it was just like, 'What are you going to do? What are you guys doing?' I saw people throwing shots at the Ravens, like, 'What are you guys doing?' They were throwing shots at me: 'You don't know what you're doing.' That's the 'He said, she said.' That's what I meant by that." 

There were some questions and doubts about your decision to represent yourself. What do you feel like you proved to get to this point? (Adam Kilgore)  

Jackson: "I didn't really do this to prove anyone wrong [nor do I] really care about what anyone had to say. If anything, I had to prove myself right – like I know what I'm doing – and I feel I did the right thing." 

How did you train yourself to handle that side of your career? (Adam Kilgore)  

Jackson: "Just keeping your emotions outside of business; that's the best way to do it." 

This is a pretty historic day in franchise history. What is the significance of this day mean to you? (Garrett Downing)  

Harbaugh: "I'm sure it does have a lot of significance, and I appreciate the magnitude of the question. Probably, in about 10 years from now, Lamar [Jackson], when you're still playing, and I'm done, I'll probably give it some thought. But my thought right now is the significance going forward – just like Lamar said. Let's get to work, and let's get ready to go play some ball and play some great football, put our offense together with [offensive coordinator] Todd [Monken], Lamar and the rest of the guys. And as a coach, man, that's how you think right now, and that's how I'm thinking about it." 

You mentioned that you always wanted to be here – to be a Raven. Did you get approached by other teams in this process with an offer, and did you consider any of them? (Brian Wacker)  

Jackson: "Teams reached out, but it was … Like I said before, I really didn't care about other teams; I wanted to be here. That's what it is." 

Did you feel some urgency to get this wrapped up now? Did you want to get it done this offseason, or would you have been fine playing on the franchise tag, if it had come to that, even if the number wasn't what you wanted it to be? (Childs Walker)  

Jackson: "I absolutely wanted to get it done, because I was just tired of going back and forth about it. We've been doing it for years, but the time had come, and the numbers were right, and we were all satisfied." 

What was this stretch like for you? It seems really successful, and you've had a lot on your plate with all the players you've signed, the Draft, QB Lamar Jackson. How was it compartmentalizing everything and dealing with everything? (Kirk McEwen)  

DeCosta: "Yes, you just have faith in the process. You have great people working upstairs that help in a lot of different ways – coaches and scouts, salary cap, analytics people – that help day to day. [They] help keep me focused [and] on point. My family is a great stabilizer for me, as well. And you just remain positive and hopeful, and I guess my mindset was try and do something positive every single day, come in and get something done every single day – evaluations, contracts, negotiations, finding cap space. Whatever it was, try to do something positive every single day. And I believed, if we could do that, then we would build momentum, and good things would happen." 

Lamar, you mentioned your mother is your manager. I trust there's more to your relationship with her. Can you describe your mother's influence on you in your life, what it means to your family to come upon this sort of financial reward and your plans for Mother's Day in a couple weeks?_ (Mark Viviano)_ 

Jackson: "Yes, she's a huge influence on my life, just by her raising the four of us – my younger brother and my two sisters, me being the oldest – just seeing how she grinded and worked without complaining. [Her] not wanting me to get a job, telling me to focus on football, and [that] she would take care of everything else. Just seeing that, it was like, 'If she can do that, I can do anything.' She was raising four kids on her own, not asking for a handout, not reaching out to people. She wasn't like, 'Oh, I need this right here to pay my bills.' I never heard her complain about anything like that; I just saw her go to work – wake up early in the morning – and go to work, come back late at night from working, or I'm dropping her off at work, stuff like that. I was like, 'Man, this woman's a superhero to me.' That was part of her influence right there. What was your other question? (Reporter: "What it means to your mother and your family to be rewarded in this way, and again, the Mother's Day plans.") (laughter)It means a lot to my family and myself. Just from being in a place where we weren't before. It's another stepping stone, if anything. For Mother's Day, I don't know … I got her a gift already; I think she's satisfied right now." (laughter) 

Harbaugh: "You should at least get her a card or something." 

Jackson: "I'll probably give her a card, give her some flowers or something. Women love flowers." (laughter) 

Harbaugh:"They do." 

Jackson:"[You] can't go wrong with flowers." 

Harbaugh: "Is that true?" 

Jackson:"Although, these days, I don't know." 

Five years ago, you went through the whole draft process, and people were questioning if you could even play quarterback, and now today, you're the highest-paid player. What does that mean to you? (Jamison Hensley) 

Jackson: "Like I said before, that's just proving myself right. That's not about what people are saying, or this and that, the, 'He said, she said.' It's about believing in yourself at the end of the day, keeping God first. Without him, there's no Lamar Jackson. I'm going to tell you that now: I kept him first at all times, no matter what I went through, no matter when it looked like my back was against the wall, no matter what, when people were doubting me even more than before, even more than ever. I just kept my faith with him, and now we're here." 

Did QB Jalen Hurts' deal with the Philadelphia Eagles have any impact on your negotiations? (Jeff Zrebiec) 

Jackson: "I didn't worry about Jalen [Hurts]'s deal. It was like we came to terms. We came to something that both of us mutually agreed on, like I said. Now, we're here." 

This offense, now you have QB Lamar Jackson signed, you got WR Zay Flowers in the Draft and you got WR Odell Beckham Jr. How excited are you about this group, and could this be one of the most explosive offenses you've had?_ (Cordell Woodland)_ 

Harbaugh: "For sure, [and] Nelson [Agholor]. Nelson's in here working hard, the rest of the receivers. I think Mark [Andrews] is coming in next week or the week after; he'll be in here. A bunch of the [offensive] linemen are in. It's going to be a lot of fun. Lamar [Jackson] is already looking at the playbook, even probably before. You probably got a sneak peak at it before, I'll bet, if I know you at all. It has a chance to be exciting and fun. It has a chance to be a winning offense – that's what we always want to be. The expectations are always high. Like Lamar said, you go back to 2018 – that's all you think about, is being as good as you can in every single way. This year is no exception, but I understand it's kind of ramped up a little bit. [Defensive coordinator] Mike Macdonald is sitting back there; it's ramped up for the defense, too, right Mike? And [special teams coordinator] Chris Horton for the special teams. So, it's a team thing. We're going to go out there and fight, and work to be the best team we can be. Now, we have our quarterback locked up. We always knew we would, but now it's official, and it's time to get to work." 

I'd like to get your thoughts on that, too. You've seen guys like WR Stefon Diggs go to Buffalo, and WR Tyreek Hill go to Miami and what weapons have done for quarterbacks. Having three new guys, how eager are you to work with them, and how much of a jump you and all of you can make working together? (Cliff Brown) 

Jackson: "I'm very eager; I'm very eager to be honest with you. I think I told someone, 'I want to throw for like 6,000 yards with the weapons we have.' I'm not an individual award type of guy or stat watcher, I just want to do that because no one's ever done it. I feel like we have the weapons to do it. We have explosive guys. Like Coach [John Harbaugh] said, Nelson [Agholor] the new addition, Zay [Flowers], 'OBJ' [Odell Beckham Jr.], and we have [Rashod] Bateman who's going to be 100 percent healthy, 'Duv' [Devin Duvernay] is going to be healthy … I can't forget about Mark [Andrews]; [I] can't forget about my boy, Mark, and [Isaiah] Likely. So, I just can't wait to get rolling." 

Executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta has been asking a lot of questions about dealing with you during these negotiations. What did you learn about Eric as a negotiator and front office executive during these two years of talking?_ (Jonas Shaffer)_ 

Jackson: "I didn't have to learn anything about [executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta]. He's a businessman. I already knew that about him; I knew what I was going to be going through. With Eric, there was nothing to learn. Like I said, he's a business guy. He's been business [during] the whole process, was professional the whole process. I was cool with it." 

During these negotiations, the players' union put out a message alleging collusion in the league relative to paying players like QB Lamar Jackson. You're on the front lines of these negotiations, and there will be more. What can you say, if anything, about such an allegation?_ (Mark Viviano)_ 

DeCosta: "Not much. I speak to Lamar [Jackson]; Lamar speaks to me. There's no collusion when it's me and Lamar speaking together. I think the conversations were great. I always understood where he was coming from, and I always thought he understood where I was coming from. Certainly, we didn't always agree necessarily, or we would have gotten a deal done a lot sooner, but the respect has always been there, [and] the appreciation has always been there. We both love the Ravens, and we both love this community. It took some time. In the end, it was really two people. I was dealing with Lamar Jackson the agent. [He was] very impressive, patient, demanding, honest, straightforward. It wasn't always easy. I'd rather deal with Lamar Jackson the player, I think, but in the end, it was just Lamar and I talking, texting, emailing each other trying to get a deal done. There were really no other factors involved." 

QB Lamar Jackson rattled off all these weapons in the passing game. As a running quarterback, there's been no one like him in the history of the league. How, as a coach, do you anticipate a conscious effort to have him run less this year with that passing attack? Or how will you with that running talent that is singular in the league in the passing game? (Bo Smolka) 

Harbaugh: "That's really a great question. I know it's something that we get asked all the time. Lamar [Jackson], you get asked it all the time too. There really is no conscious decisions along those lines in a sense that Lamar is a unique player. He plays – I say, sometimes we call it 'Lamar ball.' Right, Lamar? And I tell him all the time. I said, 'You play like you play. You have a unique style because you are so unique.' To your point, 'There's nobody that plays like you. There's nobody that ever will play like you the way that you can do. That's your God-given gift,' like Lamar said. There's nobody like him, and there never will be as a player. So, 'Let's go be the best Lamar Jackson that God intended you to be.' So, when he feels like it's time to take off and run, he will. When he feels like it's time – based on what he sees, nobody sees the field [like Lamar]. I think Lamar is unique in the way he sees the field. He sees it in a snapshot. He doesn't necessarily see it in a connect-the-dots progression. He takes a big-picture view of the field. You'll ask him after a play, 'What did you see out there?,' and he'll say, 'Hey, I saw' – and he'll give you the names of players, where he saw them and in what spot, where our players were, and why he did what he did. And then you go back, and you look at the tape and you're like, 'That's exactly what Lamar said. He saw it.' So, you trust that as a coach, and you allow – you don't let – you encourage him to play the way he plays. So, I think he's going to throw when it's time to throw, and he's going to run when it's time to run. We're going to play that kind of football, and it's going to be great." 

Lamar, during this process we've heard a lot of 'Lamar needs an agent.' Now, you've gotten this deal done. Do you plan to continue to represent yourself even going forward in your career? (Cordell Woodland) 

Jackson: "I do. I do. I don't want to put my trust in anyone else but myself." 

You're adored in the Baltimore community. Little kids are wearing your jersey everywhere. What does it mean to you to remain in this community? _(Ryan Mink) _ 

Jackson: "It means a lot to me. I love the {Ravens] fan base, like crazy. I can't even explain it, like how much I love the fan base. I was getting messages from them, like people crying and sad in the DMs. And I'm like, 'Man, they got me sad.' You all don't know what's going on, just calm down. We're making progress. I want to tell them that we're making progress, but I don't want to tell them to spoil what was going on. Just be patient if anything. Be patient with me because I'm not trying to go anywhere. No matter what you see, the final say is what's going to be printed out when I'm signing. Don't worry about What everyone else is saying. I love you. I love the community so much. I tell everyone, it's my third home because [I now have] Florida, Louisville, then here. I'm here for five years so like this is my home, home right now." 

Were there other agents that actually reached out to you to try to represent you? (Kevin Richardson) 

Jackson: "Absolutely. Every week, there was somebody new texting me. I don't know how they were getting my number, I guess they were sending it to each other. [They were] like, 'Man, I have this client right here.' I'm like, 'I do not care about your clients.' (laughter) But yes, every week it was a new agent." 

Did you have any contact with owner Steve Bisciotti during this time. Eric, you said it was you and Lamar, but what was Steve's input during this time, if any? (Mark Viviano)

Jackson: "No, I didn't. I was talking strictly to Eric." 

DeCosta: "I think I'm blessed that [owner] Steve [Bisciotti] – I think [head coach] John [Harbaugh] would say the same thing – Steve gives us a chance to do our jobs. He'll provide advice and guidance. He's great at that. He's got a great perspective on negotiation and just basically on life, in general, the nature of people and various things. He would give me feedback and he would give me ideas and suggestions and different things if I asked, but he's really kind of hands off, which I appreciate. That's what makes this place so special to work, and he's supported me, as did John, and as did [executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome], [president emeritus] Dick [Cass] and [president] Sashi [Brown], [vice president of football administration] Nick [Matteo] and [senior advisor to the general manager] Pat [Moriarty], [director of player personnel] George [Kokinis] and [director of player personnel] Joe [Hortiz]. [They] supported me, but in the end, it was really me and Lamar [Jackson], and we got it done." 

How would you evaluate these last four or five years of building around QB Lamar Jackson, and how does his past couple of injuries complicate the takeaways with what needs to be done moving forward to build a Super Bowl-winning team? (Jonas Shaffer) 

DeCosta: "I probably would give us a B. We've done a lot of good things, but we haven't achieved what we said we would, what Lamar [Jackson] said he would. We're not there yet. [In] 2018, Lamar stood up there, and he said what we were going to do. We're not there yet, but we're going to get there. We're on our way. The team is not set yet, we still have a few months to build the team out, but you can feel the energy. You can see the roster. It's a strong roster. We have a lot of really, really good players in place, an excellent coaching staff, and we have the mindset and the culture that [head coach] John [Harbaugh] built, so I think we're a B, but we're on our way to being an A." 

Lamar, I know some of it came up earlier, but I want to make sure. Are you fully medically cleared to play? (Morgan Adsit) 

Jackson: "Yes, I passed." 

So, everything is done with your knee? (Morgan Adsit) 

Jackson: "I'm great." 

Do you think you'll get some of these players together on your own in Florida before camp? (Kirk McEwen) 

Jackson "Hopefully, but some guys like to work out with their personal trainers. But, hopefully I can get the guys together, and we start building our chemistry right then and there." 

As this process wound down, how did you balance Lamar the agent and being the businessman that you want to be and Lamar the player? (Childs Walker) 

Jackson: "It was easy. When it was time for me to be Lamar Jackson the agent, I was Lamar Jackson the agent. I really didn't have to be the player because I wasn't on the field. The only thing I was doing was training so it was pretty easy for me." 

You and John Harbaugh were both steadfast the whole time that QB Lamar Jackson was the quarterback and that it was going to work out. What gave you that confidence, and were there times where you might not have been as confident? (Adam Kilgore) 

DeCosta: "We were trying to build the best team we could, and Lamar [Jackson], in our mind, is the best quarterback in the league. I just believe when I think about challenges that I faced, you just can't quit. You have to persevere. You have to try to find solutions, so I kept trying to find different ways of coming up with some solutions – talking to Lamar, communication. The toughest thing, and the worst thing you can do in any kind of situation is basically shut off from everything and not engage and just give up. We didn't want to do that. It wasn't the best thing for the club, it wasn't the best thing for the city, for the NFL. We believed it wasn't the best thing for Lamar, so we just kept trying to persevere and … You know, there were some dark days. I'm not going to lie to you and say every day was great. It's been a long stretch, but we know Lamar. We know the kind of person he is, and he's a phenomenal football player, but you don't make a phenomenal football player the highest-paid player in the league, you make a phenomenal football player who's also a phenomenal person the highest-paid player in the league. We had a lot of conviction that this was the right thing to do. It made a lot of sense. It just took a lot of patience." 

Will the structure of the deal give you a little more wiggle room to make some of the moves that you talked about as you continue to add pieces over the next couple of months? (Childs Walker) 

DeCosta: "Well, we will get a little bit of relief. We needed it, quite honestly. Lamar [Jackson] joked a few years ago that 'EDC' stands for 'every dollar counts,' and that is how I think about it because every dollar does count this year, and we need every dollar we can because we've spent. We've spent on some players, and we signed some guys back. We signed Odell [Beckham Jr.], we signed Rock [Ya-Sin] yesterday, [and] we have our draft class. So, we spent a lot of money, and we do it every year because we want to win. This does give us a little bit of relief, but it's not like we're leading the league in cap room." 

With the deal done, have you treated yourself to anything nice, or will you? (Jonas Shaffer) 

Jackson: "No, I haven't. Like I said, I got my mom something as my manager. I feel like she deserved something because I saw she was getting her named called out a lot; getting her number called out a lot. So, I felt like she deserved something, if anything. I'm cool. I'm cool, for now." (laughter) 

There was a report that you had gone to the Ravens and said you wanted WR Odell Beckham Jr. and WR DeAndre Hopkins. Is that true? (Jamison Hensley) 

_Jackson: _"No, it was a question [from me] [like, 'Can we?' Basically, 'Can we get Odell [Beckham Jr.] and 'D. Hop' [DeAndre Hopkins]?' It was a question; it wasn't like, 'Oh, I want them or nothing else.' No. That's not how you conduct business." 

How did you feel when they did go out and get WR Odell Beckham Jr.?_ (Jamison Hensley)_ 

_Jackson: _"I was hype, like, 'We got Odell [Beckham Jr.], man!' Odell is a Super Bowl-winning receiver. I felt like before his injury [last year], he was going to be the Super Bowl MVP, not to take away from Copper Kupp because he balled out, out of control, but I felt like Odell Beckham was on the verge of winning MVP. So, I'm hyped about it." 

We've heard where executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta was when he heard this deal was coming together. Where did you hear when this deal was coming together, and what was your reaction? _(Kyle Barber) _ 

_Harbaugh: _"It's such an embarrassing question. Actually, I was in [the facility], and it was early. It was about 5:45 or so in the morning. I'm in my closet getting dressed, and I hear, 'John, are you in there?' And it was [executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta]'s voice. I was like, 'Eric? It's kind of early, man. Give me a second.' So I came out, and he told me the story that you guys heard from the night before and that he thought that something was going to happen. Of course, there was a lot of joy at that moment. Then, I held my breath for a couple days, obviously. Then, here we are."

Related Content