One key to getting ahead in the NFL: When other teams are zigging, you zag.
The best teams have made a killing at taking advantage of the margins, the white space the rest of the fodder-fillers deem unworthy of their attention.
Baltimore's new GM Eric DeCosta plans to take this offseason to exploit different angles that Jackson's dual-threat ability enables.
"This is a really, really fun, exciting offseason, because we get a chance to look at other teams, and maybe even have the chance to draft some players or add some players that maybe other teams don't like as much as we do because we're doing something different," DeCosta said this week, via ESPN. "So, we may be able to find or exploit that situation a little bit."
In an ideal world, Jackson returns as an improved passer in 2019, and the Ravens can truly employ a multifaceted, dangerous offense that can keep defenses off balance.
Flexibility is key for DeCosta. Flexibility in the players he can chance in free agency and the draft. And flexibility in the roster-building process.
With Jackson playing on a cheap rookie deal, the new GM knows now is the time to strike.
"One of the things that we want to do is put ourselves in a really good salary cap situation now and also moving forward," DeCosta said. "That's the goal, that's the challenge. I think we can get there. I think we'll make strides this year. I think we'll make more strides next year. Moving forward, that's our plan. So, having a quarterback on a rookie deal is a big part of that."
DeCosta not only boasted about the differentiation and financial flexibility Jackson provides Baltimore but also believes that the quarterback should attract talent on the free agent market.
"I think players respect talent," DeCosta said. "I think players respect athletes and competitors. Anyone can watch Lamar Jackson and see how talented he is and what kind of a competitor he is. Players also want to win, and I think that's something that drives every professional athlete -- winning games. I think they'll recognize that about us. When they watch us play, they'll want to play here."