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Lamar Jackson, Ravens agree to terms on five-year, $260 million contract

The Lamar Jackson saga is over.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that the Ravens and the star quarterback have agreed to terms on a five-year, $260 million contract, per sources informed of the situation.

Jackson's new deal includes $185 million in total guarantees, per Rapoport. The $52 million-per-year pact makes Jackson the NFL's newest highest-paid player.

"You know, for the last few months, there's been a lot of he's said, she's said," Jackson said in a video. "A lot of nail-biting, a lot of head scratching going on, but for the next five years, it's a lot of flock going on. Let's go, baby. Let's go. Let's go, man. Can't wait to get there. Can't wait to be there. Can't wait to light up M&T (Bank Stadium) for the next five years, man. Let's get it."

The long-awaited deal came hours before Round 1 of 2023 NFL Draft, during which Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta gave Jackson a brand-new toy in Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers.

A massive contract for Jackson and Baltimore has been in the making for more than two years. Rapoport noted that when Jalen Hurts' five-year, $255 million deal went down 10 days ago, Baltimore stepped up and offered Jackson a contract that trumped it.

The 2018 first-round pick has been a star since taking over as the starter midway through his rookie campaign. In his first full season under center, Jackson won the NFL MVP in 2019, tossing a league-high 36 touchdown passes while throwing for 3,127 yards and rushing for another 1,206 yards and seven scores.

The most dynamic dual-threat in the NFL, Jackson is a nightmare for defenses, who must account for his ability to hit home runs with his arm and legs. The Ravens revolved their offense around Jackson's running ability, but he's better from the pocket and with his arm than given credit. His new deal reflects that otherworldly ability.

Injuries have been an issue for the quarterback, who finished the past two seasons on the sidelines. He missed the final six games this past year, including a wild-card loss in Cincinnati, with a PCL sprain.

The Ravens and Jackson, who represents himself, have gone back and forth for years on a potential long-term agreement. With the QB reportedly desiring more guaranteed money than Baltimore was prepared to offer, the sides were at a stalemate.

Jackson said he requested a trade on March 2, before the Ravens used the non-exclusive franchise tag on the quarterback. Sides had until July 17 to come to a long-term agreement, or the QB would play on the $32.416 million tender in 2023 -- and other clubs could offer him a tender.

They didn't need to wait until this summer to finally find common ground.

DeCosta spoke about finding that ground in negotiations during a Thursday night news conference following the conclusion of the first round.

"I think it's just one of those things," he told reporters. "Sometimes you just need time. These things develop. As I said, I think I've said it a few times, sometimes these things can happen in two weeks and sometimes it takes two years. This was on that scale.

"I know that our appreciation and love for Lamar has really never wavered, but it was business, as well. And I said today, and I feel that way. Sometimes with family, things can get tough. We all feel that sometimes. … There was definitely some emotion, but in the end, we've been blessed to have Lamar as part of this organization for a long time. We've won a lot of football games. I think he feels this place is special, too."

Change has occurred in Baltimore this offseason, with Todd Monken taking over as offensive coordinator and the Ravens adding star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The hope is that the new scheme and more playmakers will take Jackson's game back to the MVP level and jumpstart a stalled passing offense.

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