Flanked by GM Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh, Lamar Jackson held his first press conference after signing a new $260 million, five-year deal that makes him the NFL's highest-paid quarterback. The mega extension includes no-tag and no-trade clauses and will pay Jackson a record $80 million in 2023, according to CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones.
The press conference took on a celebratory vibe that was primarily focused on the future. On that note, Jackson opted not to discuss his recent trade request after Baltimore had placed the non-exclusive tag on him earlier this offseason.
"I didn't really care for other teams," Jackson said. "I just really wanted to get something here. Other teams are cool, but I wanted to be a Raven. I said something in 2018 … I meant that. I wanted to get this done. … I really wanted to finish my career here and win a Super Bowl here."
Jackson said that he liked the language that existed in the offer that he ultimately signed. Despite the issues coming to terms on a new deal, Jackson stressed that he never wanted to play anywhere else. He said that he also appreciated the continued support of Harbaugh and DeCosta throughout the process.
"It means a lot," Jackson said," just to have guys, your head coach and your GM, wanting you to be here and believe you can help your team achieve the ultimate goal in football."
Jackson also wants to set more records. Already the owner of the NFL's top rushing season for a quarterback, the former league MVP has his sights set on obliterating Peyton Manning's 10-year-old single-season passing mark.
"I'm very eager," Jackson said of the Ravens' upcoming season. "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. I just want to do that because no one's ever done that before, and we have the weapons to do that. ... Just can't wait to get rolling."
Jackson then rolled off his rolodex of teammates who he feels can lead to that type of success. He mentioned the Ravens' offseason additions of rookie receiver Zay Flowers and three-time Pro Bowler Odell Beckham Jr. Jackson is also excited to reconnect with Rashod Bateman, who is coming back from a foot injury that required surgery. Jackson also gave a shout-out to tight ends Isaiah Likely and Mark Andrews, his top target since coming to Baltimore. The Ravens' offense also includes running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill.
Speaking of Beckham, Jackson said that he asked, but did not request, that the Ravens sign the veteran wideout. Ditto perennial Pro Bowl wideout DeAndre Hopkins, who is still employed by the Cardinals despite a slew of trade rumors.
"He reached out to me," Jackson said of Beckham. "I was hyped about it ... and then a new addition like him, with his resume, we can improve our our receiving room and we can go somewhere. I was definitely hyped about that."
Jackson's optimism also stems from the what the Ravens' offense may look like with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Monken is fresh off of calling plays for the two-time defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs. He also served as the school's quarterbacks coach over that span.
"I heard from the guys that the offense is looking pretty smooth," Jackson said. "From what I see, it looks different, and, I'm liking it so far."
Since his MVP season, Jackson has had two seasons end prematurely due to injuries. Regarding last year's season-ending PCL injury, Jackson said he started seeing progress there about a month ago. He said he has been cleared by the Ravens to take part in offseason workouts. Jackson said that he plans to work out with Flowers following Baltimore's upcoming rookie minicamp.
While the journey wasn't the smoothest, Thursday's signing and subsequent press conference was the happy ending Jackson, the Ravens' brass and the team's fan base have been hoping for. Jackson, as he stressed during his press conference, expects that the remainder of his time in Baltimore is even more memorable.