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New Ravens GM faces tough choices with Flacco, Mosley and more to keep team under cap in 2019

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New Ravens GM faces tough choices with Flacco, Mosley and more to keep team under cap in 2019

Eric DeCosta stood at the podium at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Md. Wednesday for the first time as the Ravens' general manager. 

The introductory press conference ushered in a new era for the organization, and DeCosta, who started it off by recounting when he realized he was interested in scouting, has heavy decisions staring him directly in the face.

Most notably are the futures of quarterback Joe Flacco, linebackers Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley, safety Eric Weddle and guard Marshal Yanda. 

"That's an ongoing process," DeCosta said on the team's plan for Flacco.

"The new league year starts in March. We'll have a lot of different ideas, strategies, things that we'll look at once March rolls around. Right now, we're really focused on the draft and our free agency meetings, which will start to take place over the next couple weeks. We have discussed Joe. We've discussed a lot of players on the team. I think that when the time comes for us to make a decision, one way or the other, we'll have a plan in place."

If and when the Ravens decide to trade Flacco after 11 seasons and one Super Bowl, DeCosta will likely be looking to recoup the 2019 second-round draft pick they gave up in the 2018 draft to move back into the first-round to pick Lamar Jackson. And with the lack of first-round worthy quarterbacks in this year's draft, Flacco could be a hot commodity.

One thing DeCosta made clear during the almost 45 minutes he spent answering the media's questions, was that the team will be focused on putting themselves in a really good salary cap position in 2019 and going forward. 

In addition to clearing $10.5 million in cap space by parting with Flacco, the Ravens could free up $6.5 million by cutting Weddle, $7 million with guard Marshal Yanda, $9.5 million and $5 million with cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr respectively, and $4.66 million and $4 million with receivers Michael Crabrtree and Willie Snead. 

"I think we want to have the best players we can," DeCosta added. "That we can fit in under the parameters of the salary cap. We want to have a great mix of young players and veteran leadership and guys that can help us win games. And there's a lot of different formulas for that. As of right now, we're not tied to cutting anybody and we're not tied to playing with anybody. We want the best team we can field to play in September 2019."

Two of the veteran leaders the Ravens will have to try to fit under the salary cap are Suggs and Mosley, two players DeCosta helped draft.

"Good football players should be paid and C.J.'s a good football player. There's no doubt about it."

After being voted to his fourth Pro Bowl in five seasons, Mosley made it clear he wants to remain in Baltimore and DeCosta noted how different their season would have ended if it weren't for Mosley's playmaking skills in Week 17.

“I certainly hope that C.J. is back. I believe in my heart that he will be.”

Now the Ravens must get to work and figure out how to make players like Mosley fit in financially. When asked about utilizing the franchise tag on the linebacker, DeCosta said "everything is on the table."

Then there is free agency to deal with. 

"Right player, right price," is how DeCosta described their approach going into it. "The other thing is we're going to look at our players on our team. We'll make some tough decisions with certain players. And there's a lot of different ways we could go. We could let some guys go and free up some capital, and we may decided that's not the best thing for us to do for the football team. We may wait to do that with certain players. We may not."

While no insight was given on exact players, it is clear that DeCosta and the Ravens will be thoroughly examining all options in free agency and the draft. 

"Then we may decide to draft first and see what we can do via the draft before we really do anything in free agency, which can be effective as well. I think there's a lot of different strategies that we can use. I think right now what we're trying to do is just asses the quality of the draft and also asses the quality of free agency. To rank the players from best to worst and to find, and sort of ascertain, which players really help us be the best team we can be." 

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson has his best practice yet

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson has his best practice yet

Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. The Ravens are hopeful Earl Thomas will be a leader for their new defense which Thomas called "very complex." "This defense is very complex compared to what we were doing in Seattle,” Thomas said to Ravens media. “We were just playing Cover-3 all the time. Now, we’re making calls on the fly. That’s the biggest adjustment for me.”

Additionally, Thomas told media members after practice that he's made "fast friends" with quarterback Lamar Jackson. "He's a very funny guy, I don't know if you all know that," Thomas said.

2. Speaking of Lamar Jackson, he reportedly had his best day of practice so far this offseason according to Ravens media. Jackson's throws looked much better and he was quick in the pocket.


Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens and Rotoworld for news points.

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RG3 likens KD's desire to play hurt to his own injury in 2012

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RG3 likens KD's desire to play hurt to his own injury in 2012

Like most athletes, Robert Griffin III was empathetic towards Kevin Durant when he first went down, taking to Twitter on Monday night to voice his concern. 

Today, the Ravens' veteran quarterback told ESPN's The Undefeated that he's all too familiar with Durant's decision to play and subsequent injury. RG3 likened it to his own brief playoff stint in 2013. Just four weeks removed from an injury to a knee that required reconstructive surgery in college, RG3 started – only to get hit late in the fourth and watch both his season and career come to a screeching halt. 

But that's not how RG3 views it. 

"I was looking at it like I'm out for here for my brothers. I'm out here for my team. And that was the only place I wasnted to be." 

And Griffin doesn't believe he's alone in that thought process, suggesting it was KD's mindset ahead of Game 5 as well.

"Most of us are built to fight. So whenever we get a situation where we’re a little injured or a little banged-up, our first reaction isn’t to get out of there and rest. Our first reaction is to figure out how we can keep going. That’s what makes a guy like Kevin Durant great." 

It remains to be seen whether KD's recovery will be smoother than RG3's. The former Heisman Trophy winner never came close to matching his breakout rookie season, eventually losing his starting job in Washington in 2014.

Durant will miss all of next season, meaning the former Montrose Christian star's next NBA appearance would be as a 32 year-old.