Why Ravens were the only landing spot for Jackson
Michael Holley and Reeta Hubbard "The NFL Chick" discuss Lamar Jackson's new deal and what it means for the Ravens and the Baltimore community as a whole.
LAMAR JACKSON: I can't even explain it, like, how much I love the fan base. You know, I was getting messages from them, like-- like, people crying, like, sad in my DMs. I'm, like, man, like, they got me sad. I'm, like, bro, like, y'all don't know what's going on. Like, just calm down, man.
Like, we making progress. I want to tell them we making progress, but I don't want to tell them because I don't want to spoil what's going on. You know? So it's, like, man, just be patient if anything. Be patient with me because, like, I'm not trying to go nowhere.
You know, no matter what you guys see, like, the final say so is what's going to be printed out when I'm signing and stuff like that. Don't worry about what everyone else is saying. You know?
And I mean, I love you. I love the community so much, man. It's, like, I tell everybody it's my third home because Florida, Louisville, they ain't here. Like, but I'm here for five years, so like, that's my home home right now.
I mean, it's a-- it's a business. It's a business at the end of the day, and if you're-- if you're going to represent yourself, you know, you've got to-- you've got 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 know, you can't take things with-- oh, yeah, I don't like what you said, I don't agree with this. You know, it's, like, what they feel is how you feel. You know? It's a grown man thing at the end of the day, so you got to be a grown man if you're going to handle business.
I didn't really, like, do this to prove anyone wrong or really care about what anyone had to say. You know, if anything, I had to prove myself right, you know, like, I know what I'm doing. And I feel like I did the right thing.
ERIC DECOSTA: The respect has always been there. The appreciation has always been there. You know, we both love the Ravens, and we both love this community. And it took some time. In the end, it was really two people, you know, and I was dealing with Lamar Jackson the agent, very impressive, patient, demanding, honest, straightforward. You know, it wasn't always easy. You know, 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.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: All right, welcome to "Brother from Another," and as Reeta Hubbard, the NFL Chick, has so appropriately and eloquently said, it is Lamar Jackson signing day. Well, even though he signed already, is-- it's Lamar Jackson announcement day. The announcement--
REETA HUBBARD: Announcement day.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: The press conference has happened, and he is staying with Baltimore. And, Reeta, I really want you to take this over. Great shirt, by the way.
I really want you to take this over because the gold-- the Golden Girls are staying together. Nobody is moving out. We can't-- hey, Sophia's not leaving. Like, that-- the whole show would be over if Sophia left. You know?
So the Golden Girls are staying together in Baltimore. They move from Miami to Baltimore in the-- in the face of Lamar Jackson, John Harbaugh, and Eric DeCosta. I want you to tell everybody just what this means to Baltimore because I think that's central to the story. Lamar Jackson and Baltimore just go together. What does it mean for the city and the community?
REETA HUBBARD: Yeah, I mean, we talked about this before, Mike. I-- I truly believe that Baltimore was the best place for Lamar to be. This town loves Lamar. He looks like a lot of kids that live here, so representation is very important. Baltimore is a city that is almost 60% Black, so when you look at that, and you see a guy that looks like Lamar play football at a high level the way that he did in this city, I think it's something that's very-- a big deal here.
And like Lamar said, people was in his DMs crying. I remember when he did-- when he did the post on Twitter about, I asked for a trade on March the 2nd, the amount of memes and GIFs that came out from people that lived in Baltimore, I'm not going to be a Ravens fan no more, I'm a Lamar fan, you know. I mean, look, they were lying. They-- people jump back on when people win.
But that's how important that Lamar is to Baltimore City, and I've always felt that Baltimore was the place for him to be. I know we talked about Atlanta potentially being a landing spot for him previously, and it would have worked, of course, right, because they had Michael Vick. So they had a similar situation already, plus they had the cap space.
But really, Baltimore was the one that got-- that gave him a chance. They went up and traded for him in the 2018 draft, made him the last pick, so they believed in him when a lot of other teams were skeptical about him playing quarterback. It just always felt like this was home for him, and it felt good for him to reiterate that this feels like home to him outside of Louisville, outside of Florida, because it is very, you know, given-- I think it's very synonymous on both sides in terms of how everybody feels.
So this had to get done. It had to get done when it happened because you have a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken that came in. You got OTAs that's coming up.
The worst scenario possible, Mike, would have been them going into training camp still dealing with this dilemma, potentially Lamar not coming, with a new offensive system, new offensive players. It would have been disastrous. So I'm really glad that both sides were able to get this done because it was long overdue. I think we can all agree on that.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Yeah, it was long overdue, and I'm just wondering why we got to this point? I understand what they're saying. I understand what Lamar Jackson is saying. It's about business, and you can't get into your feelings.
He said that, although I feel like he got into his feelings along the way at some point, and the Ravens did, too, in a very corporate way. And they had help. OK, the Ravens had help, so they should have-- they should have thanked Lamar Jackson at this press conference.
They all should have thanked-- they also should have thanked at least 10 to a dozen NFL owners who didn't make it more difficult for them, owners and general managers who, if they had been in their right mind-- we talked about church last time, so that little church talk. In my right mind, that's when the church mothers get up and say, I thank God for a reasonable portion.
REETA HUBBARD: All right, now.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: And I'm in my--
REETA HUBBARD: Come on, now.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Then I'm in my right mind today, but a lot of these general managers and owners were not in their right mind because Lamar Jackson was available, and nobody, nobody gave him an offer, an interview, a come sit down and let's see what you're talking about. So they were able to get the deal done, but I just don't want us to get lost in the revisionist history, in the feel good moment of today.
Look, I'm glad Lamar Jackson is staying in Baltimore, a place that he loves and a place that loves him back. This reciprocity is important, but it's also important to remember where we were a couple of months ago. Lamar Jackson saying he did ask for a trade. Lamar Jackson timing out his tweet perfectly.
John Harbaugh is sitting down, and he's like, hey, what's up? They're like, yo, man, did you see the tweet? What tweet? Nah, I don't know.
REETA HUBBARD: That definitely--
MICHAEL HOLLEY: And--
REETA HUBBARD: That definitely--
MICHAEL HOLLEY: And teams saying-- and Jim Irsay-- a villain in Baltimore for different reasons. Jim Irsay saying, yeah, you know, I love the guy. I just don't love guaranteed contracts. Why'd we get to this point? Like, why do we have to go through this to get here?
REETA HUBBARD: I agree with you. The thing is, though, is that Lamar said, in his press conference, that he did talk to a couple of other teams, and that, I guess, he just stopped talking to them because maybe he didn't want to go there. So take that, you know, as you may. But according to him, he did talk to other teams.
Now, obviously, we know that no one put out an offer sheet, but Eric DeCosta was on "Pro Football Talk," on their podcast, talking to Mike Florio. And he said that he had-- they had already put out there that they had every intention on matching whatever teams were going to do in terms of doing the offer sheet. So while you and I agree that we believe that there was maybe some soft collusion going on, and by soft, I don't think that, like, they went into a room and said, we're going to collude against Lamar Jackson.
I think that that were to stand after the Deshaun Watson contract situation, where owners were, like, we're not doing that again, and Lamar just so happened to be the contract to come after that. But ultimately, I really do think that the owners came together and said, well, we're not-- that's going to be the last time that happens any time soon under our watch. Right? So the situation with Lamar was simply that, who was going to be the one that put the offer sheet in?
And it's very possible, Mike, too, the teams didn't want to do the Ravens' dirty work, that they didn't want to be the ones to put in the offer sheet to set the market for Lamar Jackson for the Ravens. And if Lamar is what-- if what he's saying is true, and that they had a conversation, then look, hey, if the Ravens are telling us that we're not going to-- we're going to match whatever we do, we're not going to do this anyway. We're going to just go ahead and sit this out. Ultimately, it worked out for the Ravens and for Lamar, but it is some question marks that we still have to have in that regard.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: You know, it's beautiful how it worked out this way financially. You see the numbers there. Lamar Jackson, average per year, you know, he makes the most in football on average. He's $52 million a year, so he's making more than Patrick Mahomes at 45.
So it's just going to be this continuous shuffle, I think, is coming. Right now, Lamar Jackson's at the top, followed by Jalen Hurts, but hey, Patrick Mahomes, that number is going up very soon. Josh Allen, I imagine, that number is going to go up. It's just going to keep shifting, as these great-- Joe Burrow, oh, Joe Burrow is coming.
REETA HUBBARD: Yep.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: So that number is going to go up as well. He'll be up there. It'll be 50-- he'll be 53, 55.
REETA HUBBARD: Yep.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Who knows how high it will go? So that's a beautiful part of it. Financially, these great players getting what they deserve, and still may be underpaid if you think about what NFL franchises are worth and what these quarterbacks bring to their organizations.
But also, I think the Baltimore story, as you said, I think that's wonderful, and it shouldn't be taken for granted, that there's a match between community and quarterback. Now, we always-- we want it to be that way. It's not always that way. It could be a quarterback who was there, and he says all the right things.
But there's-- sometimes, it's not genuine. Sometimes, there's not that connection. It's just-- or there's a connection during football season. Then when football season is over, that guy kind of fades away.
That's not happening with Lamar Jackson, I mean, just here at the press conference, and optics matter. You said representation matters. Yes, representation matters. Optics matter, too.
How many cities? How many cities would say, yeah, that's right, you can handle it? With Lamar Jackson at a press conference, representing himself with the hair out and just doing his thing, I mean, I love it. I love that!
REETA HUBBARD: [INAUDIBLE] cornrows, and the wet and wavy going on.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: I love it. He looks like-- he looks like the city. He sounds like the city. It's just-- he is a representative.
And he really is-- I'm not saying he's the best quarterback in the league. I have much respect for Lamar. He's not the best quarterback in the league, but he's one of one. Nobody quite does it like Lamar Jackson.
Even if you say, hey, other quarterbacks have the ability to run. Yeah, but nobody runs like Lamar. Nobody runs and slings it like Lamar. Nobody has this offense built around him to this point like Lamar Jackson. So it's just-- it's just cool to see, Reeta.
REETA HUBBARD: Yeah.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Just the whole-- the whole story is great.
REETA HUBBARD: And you mentioned that one of one, John Harbaugh actually said the same thing. He said Lamar is one of one. You know, he is-- he is very important to what this team's success is, and-- and based on when you look at the win-loss record, I believe it's 45 wins and 16 losses. That's essentially 3 to 1, if my math is right, in terms of wins and losses that Lamar brings to this team. It is extremely important for him to be a key player in terms of what the Ravens want to do.
And I just love the fact that, in addition to Lamar, that has accepted and embraced this city, other players have done the same thing. Odell Beckham Jr is-- I don't even think he's been here a month, and it feels like he thinks that he's a Baltimorean already. But that says a lot about the culture of this town and how big football means to Baltimore City, and how the players see that, and how infectious that is.
So I just love to see the outpour of love and support for Lamar because he definitely deserves it. I have been a person that believed that he should have been had this done, and mainly because the NFL was not for long. You don't know how long you're going to be here, so getting paid, essentially, after your fifth year, to me, is a delayed payment. But nonetheless, I'm glad that he got it done. But Lamar should have probably-- I wish he would have gotten paid two years ago because he absolutely would have deserved it then, and he deserves it now.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Well, there was some-- you know, hey, congrats to him on the deal. There was some money left on the table just because--
REETA HUBBARD: I don't want-- hey. Hey, man.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Yeah, we're not getting into it.
REETA HUBBARD: I say the same.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Yeah.
REETA HUBBARD: I say the same thing, but you know, what's done is done.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Yeah, I know.
REETA HUBBARD: Yeah. No.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: I know it's a-- I know it's a day of celebration. I'm wearing my purple Ravens tie in celebration. Just so happened to work out that way.
Real quick, before we get we switch gears and talk to Kurt [INAUDIBLE] in a little bit, real quick, now that they have a new strength and conditioning coach, and they got Lamar Jackson in place, can they keep Lamar Jackson healthy? And how good will they be? Can they keep him healthy? How good will they be?
REETA HUBBARD: I mean, listen, the strength and conditioning coach appeared to be a guy that players didn't love, and we found that out when the NFLPA grades came out. And eventually, he got departed from the Ravens, so you really hope that whoever they bring in-- well, it's a guy that was already on the staff, I believe, that got promoted. You really hope that this next person absolutely can do what they can to make sure Lamar is going to stay on the field because, as we know, he hasn't played the end of the last two seasons, and so it's very important for this team's success for Lamar to stay healthy.
So we'll see how this goes because it's a new era. You've got new strength and conditioning coach. You've got a new offensive coordinator. You've got new players. Hopefully, that's enough to keep Lamar up and right for the majority of the season.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: All right, so I feel like, you know, you got the "Golden Girls" shirt on. We talk about Lamar. I feel like there should be something like "the Wire." There should be, like, something that speaks to Baltimore.
I mean, we got to-- we got to figure that out. Like, the most famous Baltimore show, although who was your boy who said-- who was the corner who said, oh, I got to tell you, I wasn't really feeling "the Wire." Who was that? It was a Raven.
REETA HUBBARD: Probably Marlon Humphrey. If I had to guess, it was Marlon because that's what Marlon does. Marlon loves to be the [INAUDIBLE] in everything. He loves it.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: He was like-- he was like, I'm not feeling it. I'm, like, man, keep that to yourself.
REETA HUBBARD: He also doesn't like mac and cheese, so we can't trust him. OK? I just want to put that out there.
I love you Marlo. You're my guy. He doesn't like mac and cheese, so he's not to be trusted.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Yeah, I'm watching. I'm watching. Mac and cheese and "the Wire."
REETA HUBBARD: Exactly.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: I-- I see you, Humphrey.