OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta vehemently defended the team’s wide receivers during Monday’s pre-draft news conference.
“I’m aware that there’s some fan discontent with our wide receivers and our drafting and all that,” DeCosta said. “We’ve got some really good young receivers. It’s insulting to these guys when they hear that we don’t have any receivers. It’s quite insulting. I’m insulted by it too, to be honest. I think we’ve got some guys that want to show everybody what they can do.”
Since the Ravens’ first draft in 1996, Baltimore and Washington are the only teams not to draft a Pro Bowl wide receiver. In each of the past two seasons, Baltimore’s wide receivers have ranked last in the league in catches and receiving yards in the team’s run-oriented offense.
The Ravens have been linked heavily to a couple of wide receivers in the first round — LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr. and Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman — because of the perception that the team doesn’t have much at that position. Ravens coach John Harbaugh is irked by this opinion.
“We’ll stand by our guys,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not about to apologize for our guys. Our guys are going to go out there and win football games for us and make plays. They’re going to show people. Can’t wait to see it happen.”
The Ravens have invested heavily in wide receivers recently, drafting a total of three in the first three rounds in 2019 and 2020. No other team has drafted more in the draft’s first two days during that span.
With one of the youngest wide receiver groups in the league (no one is over 24), Baltimore added Sammy Watkins in free agency.
“I know this: Lamar [Jackson] likes the receivers,” DeCosta said. “I think our coaches like our receivers. The teammates like our receivers.”
DeCosta also addressed contract talks with Jackson, saying discussions with the former NFL MVP are “fluid” and “ongoing.”
Jackson, 24, is entering the final year of his four-year, $9.5 million rookie contract. The Ravens can exercise Jackson’s fifth-year option to keep him signed through 2022.
He’s scheduled to earn $1.771 million this season — which currently ranks 24th among quarterbacks — after leading Baltimore to the playoffs in each of his three seasons.
“I think it’s important to us and it’s important to him,” DeCosta said of Jackson’s contract extension. “I think Lamar is obviously a very patient guy. He wants to be the best he can be. He wants this team to be the best it can be and he wants to win very badly. So, we’re aligned that way. I’m confident that we’ll continue to discuss this and I think at some point, hopefully we’ll have some good news for everybody.”