Latest From Baltimore Ravens WR Odell Beckham Jr., GM Eric DeCosta

Even at Odell Beckham Jr.’s introductory news conference with the Baltimore Ravens Thursday, Lamar Jackson was the story. The very first question asked of Beckham wasn’t about his 14 months away from football during ACL rehab. It wasn’t about why Beckham picked the Ravens over a number of other suitors.

It was basically: Are you sure Lamar will be the one throwing you passes here, OBJ?

Latest on Lamar Jackson’s Contract Talks With Baltimore Ravens

Beckham said he didn’t get any assurances from Jackson — who reportedly wants a long-term deal from the Ravens that includes a historic amount of guaranteed money — that the former NFL MVP will 100% play quarterback for Baltimore in 2023.

But the entire subtext since Beckham signed on Easter Sunday is that Jackson will be under center and in purple and black this fall.

“The goal was to come here and have the possibility to play with him,” Beckham said. “I’m excited for that opportunity.”

Left unsaid: Beckham almost certainly would not have signed with Baltimore if he wasn’t confident that Jackson will indeed be the Ravens’ quarterback for at least one more season.

Jackson has yet to sign his $32.4 million franchise tender, and Negotiating 101 says he shouldn’t do so anytime soon. Withholding his services is the only leverage Jackson has at this point in his quest for a long-term deal.

But there hasn’t exactly been a bunch of teams lining up to steal him away — which could have happened at any point in the last month. If a team like, say, the Colts is OK offering Jackson a quarter-billion guaranteed and parting with two first-round picks, they could do so.

MORE: FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator (With Trades)

So far, that has not happened.

That means Jackson — even without an agent — likely knows that it’s Ravens or bust in 2023. And the tone of the last week suggests he’s not inclined to hold out the entire season.

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said he has not spoken to Jackson since the Odell signing, but added:

“We only think about Lamar as the quarterback of this team. We are hopeful to get a deal done. …. A lot of times, the best things in life take a long time.”

Sort of like Beckham finding a team. It took an entire NFL season plus a strong workout for teams a few weeks back to get a contract that he felt was worthy of his time. Beckham signed a one-year, $15 million with the Ravens.

Beckham had a number of suitors during his free agency but decided on the Ravens after connecting with owner Steve Bisciotti during a phone conversation.

“I’m in a place in my life where it means a lot more to be really wanted,” Beckham said. “That was this situation. … They showed that they wanted me and see me as a piece to help them win.”

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