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“It Was a Terrible Experience”: Ravens GM Breaks Silence on Having to Negotiate Lamar Jackson’s Contract With His Mother

Samnur Reza

"It Was a Terrible Experience": Ravens GM Breaks Silence on Having to Negotiate Lamar Jackson's Contract With His Mother

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson made history in 2023 with a five-year, $260 million deal, making him the fourth-highest-paid player in the NFL. But it didn’t happen overnight, as the Louisville alum remained in a stalemate with the franchise for days, amid speculations about his departure from Baltimore if a fully guaranteed contract wasn’t agreed upon. As it turns out, these days of negotiation were quite stressful for the Ravens GM, Eric DeCosta, who, in his recent appearance on the ‘Next Up‘ podcast, even labeled the whole thing — a ‘terrible experience‘.

Host Adam Breneman initially asked DeCosta about his feelings regarding the long-standing stalemate with Lamar last year and what the process was like, which eventually led to the massive deal. Without skipping a beat, DeCosta responded, “Well, actually, it was a terrible experience.” He then clarified that finalizing the deal was quite hard since he and the front office had to negotiate directly with Lamar, who chose to represent himself.

But Lamar representing himself is only half the story; his mother, Felicia Jones, also acted as his manager and worked through the entire deal. This made the negotiation rather tricky for Eric DeCosta, who claimed in the interview that this resulted in a communication gap between the front office and Jackson’s representative. It was hard for DeCosta to convey his feelings to Jackson and Felicia since the star QB he worked with was one of the best people he knew. Directly telling Felicia that her son couldn’t do certain things was out of DeCosta’s hands, which wouldn’t have been the case if they negotiated the deal through an agent.

The challenge was that he represented himself,” DeCosta said of the negotiation. “When you’re a parent, it’s very hard to tell your kids that they’re not very good at something or not as good as they think they are. Or to disagree sometimes. And with Lamar, it was very hard for both of us to disagree at times. With an agent, it’s easy for a general manager to say to an agent: ‘Your client’s not as good as he thinks he is, or I’m not giving you this. I know you want it, but I’m not giving you this, and here’s why.’

The Ravens GM even recalled a pledge that he made with Jackson about never leaking details about the negotiation to the press, and yet, the media released numerous reports that were far from true.

How Did Lamar Jackson Finally Agree to the Deal?

Eric DeCosta recalled the deal finally getting done last year, and remarked, “When we got the deal done, it was one of the happiest moments in my professional career.” But he had never imagined when the news would come when it did. A devout Celtics fan, DeCosta was in the middle of a devastating beatdown from the Hawks in the final quarter of the game.

Although his team advanced into the final quarter with a 15-point lead, the Hawks made an unbelievable comeback, and with a three-pointer at the buzzer; they took home the victory. DeCosta reminisced, “I was like yelling and screaming at the TV, and my phone vibrated, and I looked at it; it was from Lamar. He said, ‘Send me the contract, we have a deal.’” The Ravens GM feels that this was the exact moment his career completely took a 180 — for the better, of course.

It can be said with certainty that both Lamar and his Ravens thrived last year and will continue to do so for as long as they are together. Smiley Face led the Purple Murder to the AFC Championship on the back of the top conference seed. The star QB even earned the MVP nod. However, they fell short against the KC Chiefs, the eventual Super Bowl champs. Surely, things will be different in 2024.

About the author

Samnur Reza

Samnur Reza


Samnur Reza, or "Rocky," is an NFL editor for the SportsRush. Although his love for football began with Tom Brady, he’s now a devoted fan of Jalen Hurts and is keeping his fingers crossed for the first ring. When asked how he remains loyal to the Eagles, he channels his inner Jim from The Office and responds, 'On a wing and a prayer.' Much like his love for football, Rocky is a dedicated cinephile with an impressive amount of screen time. He’s also fond of cats and has a furry friend named ‘Eva’.

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