OWINGS MILLS, Md. — It was the most unique and challenging season of Eric DeCosta’s long Ravens career. His second season as Ravens General Manager ended like his first - in the divisional round of the playoffs.
"Not the end result that we wanted but we see progress with this team," he said Monday during his 49-minute end-of-season press conference. "We think we have a good foundation of young players. This is a very young team in comparison to Ravens teams of the past."
Their superstar MVP is one of the youngest. And 24-year-old quarterback Lamar Jackson could be on the verge of a mega contract extension.
"I will be talking to Lamar probably within the next ten days or so. He certainly deserves a contract," said DeCosta. "Our intention and my intention is to keep him in Baltimore for many, many years."
And it’s this run-first team’s intention to improve on a pass game ranked last in the NFL.
Ways to do that:
"We want to be precise for sure. We want to be more efficient. The pass protection is going to be a factor," DeCosta explained.
What about potentially attracting that top-flight wide receiver in free agency? DeCosta doesn’t think the aerial shortcomings will be a sticking point.
"I’ve never had a player yet say to me, ‘I don’t want to come play for the Baltimore Ravens because you don’t throw the ball’. It hasn’t happened yet... Maybe it will. There’s always an exception but I haven’t heard it yet."
Navigating the free agent waters may be difficult when it comes to the salary cap. DeCosta anticipates the Ravens having the 11th or 12th best situation in the NFL - $15-$20 million dollars under the cap. He likes the position they are in.
"We’d like to have more room than we have. $15-$20 million is not a lot of money. But when we judge ourselves against our competitors we feel like we have an opportunity to use that to our advantage."
They won’t be using it on Morgan Cox. The all-pro free agent long snapper won’t be offered a contract to return for a 12th season in Baltimore. The organization wants to get younger at the position.
DeCosta and his staff now shift their attention to, among other things, the Draft. They were scheduled to head to Mobile, Alabama (site of Saturday’s Senior Bowl) on Monday afternoon to get a look at the top college prospects.