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Ravens Announce New Five-Year Deal For Lamar Jackson
As the team's official website framed it: "Celebrate Baltimore, the wait is over, and the MVP is returning. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have agreed in principle to a five-year extension."

Negotiations have been ongoing for about two years, and the breakthrough finally came on the first day of the 2023 NFL Draft.

As's Ryan Mink suggested, it's the first-round "pick" the Ravens and their fans have been dreaming of.

"For the last few months, there's been a lot of he said, she said. A lot of nail biting, a lot of head scratching going on," Jackson said in a video Thursday afternoon.

"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 for the next five years, man. Let's get it."

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Jackson's five-year deal is worth $260 million and makes him the NFL's highest-paid player, right over Jalen Hurts -- who got a five-year, $255 million deal earlier this month.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the deal includes $185 million guaranteed.

It wasn't long ago that negotiations appeared stalled, but the Ravens remained resolute in their desire to come to an agreement with their star 26-year-old quarterback.

Jackson said he requested a trade on March 2. On March 7, the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on him, allowing him to negotiate with other teams.

There were no reported offers made or trades proposed, and the Ravens continued to work to bring their former MVP back.

The Ravens signed Odell Beckham Jr. two weeks ago, which seemed to please Jackson. According to Mink, the two connected immediately afterwards. The Eagles deal with Hurts also helped to set the parameters of the star quarterback market.

Baltimore has been aggressive in upgrading the weapons around Jackson this offseason and will likely continue to do so in the draft.

That, paired with the arrival of new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, has the Ravens offense going in a much different direction with Jackson at the helm.

There's never been a doubt about Jackson's talent. He's one of the most dynamic and winningest quarterbacks in the league, and he's helped make the Ravens one of the best teams in the league the past five seasons.

Jackson's record of 45-16 (.738) is the fourth-best of any quarterback who debuted in the Super Bowl era, trailing only Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Roger Staubach. He was the NFL's unanimous MVP after a magical 2019 season. The Ravens have struggled when Jackson has been injured the past two seasons, going 3-9 in his absence.

Now with Jackson in Baltimore for the foreseeable future, the Ravens have their centerpiece in place and will try to get over the final hurdle. Jackson, who promised Baltimore a Super Bowl when he was drafted five years ago, has another five more years to help deliver it.

Meanwhile, fantasy managers investing in Jackson well inside the top-10 at his position in early best-ball drafts can breathe a sigh of relief and perhaps hope for a rejuvenated offense with Monken replacing Greg Roman as playcaller.

Monken returns to the NFL after spending the past two seasons as the OC at the University of Georgia. The Bulldogs scored 65 points in the CFP National Championship Game on Jan. 9, the school's second consecutive national title. The Bulldogs posted 198.1 rushing yards per game, adding 273.8 passing yards per game.

In 2022, Georgia led the nation in total net yards (7,517) and total points (616), with former walk-on quarterback Stetson Bennett throwing 27 touchdowns, while rushing for 10 more.

Over the last two seasons, Georgia's offense ranked No. 5 in in the country in points per game (39.8) and No. 8 in scrimmage yards per game (472.0).

Monken did it using packages that suit the Ravens' current personnel and physical style well.

Georgia's most common package was "12" personnel (one running back, two tight ends, and two wide receivers), which it ran on 59 percent of its plays.

In his most recent NFL season (2019 with Cleveland), Monken directed a Browns' offense that featured running back Nick Chubb, who produced the league's second-most rushing yards (1,494) and tallied eight touchdowns. Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw a single-season career-high 3,827 passing yards, adding 22 touchdowns.

In 2018, Monken helped Tampa Bay lead the NFL in passing offense (320.3 ypg) and finish third in total offense (415.5 ypg), setting single-season club records in each category.

So there's a lot to like here, whether you're invested in Jackson, Mark Andrews, J.K Dobbins and perhaps even Beckham.