Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, football player Odell Beckham Jr., and general manager Eric DeCosta. Photo Credit: Bo Smolka/PressBox

Odell Beckham Jr. moved to the center of the room, a Ravens hat on his head, all smiles as he sat between head coach John Harbaugh and general manager Eric DeCosta. Family and friends occupied the first two rows of the Ravens auditorium, while Beckham’s 1-year-old son, Zydn, made his presence known as well.

Beckham had 15 million reasons to smile at his Ravens introductory news conference on April 13, given that’s the value of the one-year contract the three-time Pro Bowl pick signed with Baltimore, becoming the most high-profile, most aggressive move the Ravens have made this offseason as they try to jump-start their offense even while they — and Beckham — face uncertainty as to who will be the starting quarterback.

“Today is a great day for the Ravens,” Harbaugh said.

Once Beckham agreed to his one-year, $15 million deal — which reportedly could climb to $18 million with incentives — speculation quickly turned to quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has been locked in a contract impasse with the Ravens and revealed last month that he has asked to be traded.

Jackson and Beckham shared on social media that they had conversed after Beckham’s deal was finalized, but while Beckham said he was excited about the opportunity to play with Jackson, he said that he got no assurances that Jackson would be the Ravens quarterback in 2023, a storyline that has dominated the NFL offseason.

Rather than risking losing Jackson as a free agent at the end of his rookie deal this spring, the Ravens applied the nonexclusive franchise tag, essentially giving Jackson a one-year, $32 million deal that is considered undervalued for a former league MVP in his prime.

The nonexclusive tag means any other team is free to negotiate with Jackson — who does not have a certified agent — but the Ravens have the chance to match any offer sheet. Five weeks into free agency, no such offers had materialized.

Asked at Beckham’s news conference about Jackson’s status, DeCosta maintained the company line he has held throughout the offseason regarding negotiations with Jackson, saying, “Our feelings about Lamar have not changed one bit since the end of the season. We’re hopeful, still, that we’ll get a long-term deal done.”

Read more at PressBox.

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