As of March 1 (UPI), Indianapolis General manager Eric DeCosta told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday that the Baltimore Ravens are hoping to reach an agreement with Lamar Jackson on a contract extension before the franchise tag deadline of March 7.

DeCosta stated during a press appearance at the Indianapolis Convention Center, “Lamar and I are conversing. “We recently met. That is still being discussed. We are both aware of how critical the issue is.

“There was nice conversation and discussion. I remain positive, and we’ll see how it develops.

Jackson, the No. 32 overall choice in the 2018 NFL Draft, agreed to a four-year, $9.47 million rookie contract. He had a $23 million option to play last season.

Without a strong quarterback, DeCosta asserted, it is impossible to succeed in this league. That’s been established. Lamar needs to be here. He is among the league’s top quarterbacks in our opinion. He’s unquestionably among our finest players. We desire his return.

“To live in a world without a quarterback is to live in a bad world.”Jackson is to become an unrestricted free agent in mid-March if he doesn’t agree to a long-term deal or the Ravens don’t use a franchise tag to retain the quarterback.

Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson were among the quarterbacks who signed contract extensions last off-season. Jackson denied reports last off-season that the Ravens offered him a fully guaranteed, $250 million contract.

Watson signed a fully guaranteed, five-year, $230 million contract last off-season with the Cleveland Browns.