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Eric DeCosta declines to address questions on Lamar Jackson at pre-draft press conference

Peter King and Myles Simmons dissect the Lamar Jackson-Baltimore Ravens standoff, and discuss the potential timeline for a deal.

Until quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Ravens come to a resolution on how they’ll proceed — together or not — in 2023, that will continue to be the most important storyline regarding the team.

But General Manager Eric DeCosta did not want to address specific questions regarding Jackson at Wednesday’s pre-draft press conference.

The first question of the press conference was about the quarterback, who is currently able to sign an offer sheet with another team after the Ravens used the non-exclusive franchise tag. DeCosta was asked if he’d talked to Jackson since the QB made his trade request public and what DeCosta’s level of confidence is that Jackson will play for Baltimore in 2023.

“Yeah, so I understand the need to ask those kinds of questions,” DeCosta said. “I think out of just respect for the process, this is a draft luncheon. And we’re going to try to keep as much of this discussion as we can to the draft, to the coming weeks building the best football team we can build. So, I understand those questions. I think we’ve spoken about this situation probably five different times this spring in various different press conferences and such. So, we’re going to try to just defer those questions and move forward to the draft.”

DeCosta was asked what his preferred outcome is for where things might stand with Jackson before the first round of the draft and gave a non-answer.

“I think the things that we can control are really getting the list, the draft board set, evaluating the players as best as possible. Being aware of the players, the free agents that are amiable now, post-draft — who are the players that we might have a chance to bring in post-draft that could make us a better football team as well. And then doing the best job we can in terms of recruiting free agents. Our scouts do a phenomenal job of that, I think our coaches do a phenomenal job of that. And just putting ourselves in position to win draft weekend.”

At that point, another reporter began to ask a question mentioning Jackson’s name and a member of the Ravens PR staff tried to redirect the inquiry to the draft. The question, however, got in, as DeCosta was asked if the Ravens are looking at quarterbacks differently given Jackson’s status.

“You know, I don’t think we really are,” DeCosta said. “We go into every draft trying to take any kind of bias out, any kind of need-based situation out of the draft equation. We really do try to build a board that’s really best player available. … And so if that’s a quarterback, if that’s a receiver, corner, offensive tackle, we’re going to look at that very strongly and make the best decision we can — knowing that over time, we think, building a team [with the] best available player is the right way to go.”

While Jackson may have requested a trade, he technically does not need one to go meet with another team and discuss a contract. But to this point, there has been no reported interest from any team when it comes to setting up a potential visit to discuss terms.

The Ravens have quarterback Anthony Brown under contract and also have placed the right of first refusal tender on restricted free agent Tyler Huntley.