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The Ravens now have ageneral manager named as Sporting News' NFL Executive of the Year, as voted on by his peers. Congratulations to Eric DeCosta, thewinner for the 2019 seasonwhoalso is only the second GM in the franchise's 24-year history.Retired Ozzie Newsome fell short of winning the award several times in his 23 years on the job, but consider DeCosta, Newsome'sfront-office protege and succe sor, getting recognizedthis way as along overdue tribute to one of the league's premier scouting and personnel organizations. DeCosta's big start suggests that, at only age 49, he has a bright futurein Baltimore.MORE:All 2019Sporting News NFL awards winnersDeCosta was charged with a difficult task whentaking over in 2019 how to rebuild the team Ozzie Smith Jersey into a Super Bowl contender tailored to the talents of its dynamic second-yearQB, Lamar Jackson. Like Jackson, DeCosta pa sed and ran with flying colors, specificallypurple and black. The Ravens fell short of winning their third ring,butthey finished the regular seasonwith the NFL's best record at 14-2 with Jackson breaking out as league MVP and also SN's Offensive Player of the Year.None of it would have been po sible without DeCosta knowingwhat needed to be done around Jackson offensively and tocomplement him defensively to help coach John Harbaugh lead the team to its second repeat as AFC North champions.AfterNewsome traded up with the Eagles to get Jackson in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, DeCosta's path in 2019 came into focus. Here isa look back at allthe great moves in his one year on the job that added up to the award.Releasing WR Michael Crabtree:Crabtree was not the right kind of wideout for Jackson, given he was more of a po se sion type than a speedy deep threat. DeCosta cleared the way to remix the positionfor Jackson.Waiving RB Alex Collins:Collins once showedpromiseas the Ravens' lead power back, but DeCosta also realized the need to reload the backfield with Jackson.Re-signing TE Nick Boyle:Using multiple tight ends to help Jackson was a good early plan. This move to keep Boylewith Mark Andrews allowed the team to trade Hayden Hurst, the first-rounder taken ahead of Jackson, in 2020.Trading QB Joe Flacco:There was no need to keep theinjury-riddled Flacco as an unwilling backup behind Jackson with RobertGriffiin III, later re-signed, Chase Headley Jersey being the better stylistic fit. DeCosta flipped Flacco nicely to the Broncos for a fourth-rounder, which allowed the Ravens to draft running back Justice Hill.Signing RB Mark Ingram:Before adding Hill to the mix, the Ravens got a no-nonsense, savvy power runner whose veteran, winning attitude was a bonus for the locker room.Signing S Earl Thomas:With Eric Weddle ending histenure with the Ravens, DeCosta was smart to get the former Seahawks All-Pro to be a seamle s veteran replacementand was able to land him over several other interested teams.Re-signing RB Gus Edwards:The undrafted free agent impre sed enough in 2019 to get re-signed and serve as Ingram's top power backup.Extending K Justin Tucker and RG Marshal Yanda:Tucker needs toremain the Ravens' clutch kicker for his entire career. Although Yanda retired after the 2019 season, this was a good faith measure by the Ravens ahead of his swan song as a venerable blocker.Drafting WR Marquise Brown, EDGE Jaylon Ferguson, WR Miles Boykin, RB Justice Hilland G Ben Powers:DeCosta got his new Johnny Manziel Jersey starting wideouts here. Brown went Hollywood in hisfirst game as thebig-playguy for Jackson. Ferguson might end up being a steal to help their pa s rush. Boykinshould be more active for Jackson opposite Brown in Year 2. Hill can still have a big committee role soon. Powers is in the mix to replace Yanda.Trading GAlex Lewis to the Jets:This 2020 pick in return eventually turned into No. 202 Brad Hand Jersey overall after a trade with the Vikings. The Ravens used it to land sleeper WR James Proche.Trading K Kaare Vedvik to the Vikings:The 2020 pick in return became a fifth-rounder, with which the Ravens landed DT Broderick Washington Jr. to boost their 3-4 rotation.Signing LBs L.J. Fort and Josh Bynes:DeCosta saw some value herefor their 3-4 scheme, and they combined to start 15 games atthe two inside spots.Trading for CB Marcus Peters:The Ravens envisioned helping Marlon Humphrey in coverage with something a lotmore thanthe return of Jimmy Smith, getting aggre sive for the former Chiefs and Ramsplaymaker. Peters was a natural fit in the secondary, making it tough to pa s on Baltimore. Having more depth at linebacker made Kenny Young an easy piece to move.Making the offense stronger, the defense deeper:Brown and Boykin had the vertical skills to mesh with Jackson, throwing deep while playing off the effectivene s of the running game, which became steadier with Ingram, Edwards and Hill. On the other side, the Ravens gave themselves some extra pop inside and out with linebackers and the secondary.DeCosta got a lot done in 2019, and there hasbeen more in store for 2020. J.K. Dobbins, Devin Duvernay and Proche built on the offensive strengths the Ravens hit on from last year. Fellow drafted rookies Ben Bredeson and Tyre Phillps and veteran D.J. Fluker offermore options without Yanda. Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe and drafted rookies Patrick Queen, Justin Madubuike and Malik Harrison push further with the strong front-seven initiative.What hasmade the Ravens so succe sful with personnel over the years is their making a quick recovery with the right players who fit their schemes and complement the existing nuclei.DeCosta did this at a high enough level to stand out among fine, winning executives, joining an exclusive club.Sporting News Executive of the Year San Diego Padres winnersYearWinnerTeam1955Dan ReevesLos Angeles Rams1956George HalasChicago Bears1957-71No awardsN/A1972Dan RooneyPittsburgh Steelers1973Jim FinksMinnesota Vikings1974Art RooneyPittsburgh Steelers1975Joe ThomasBaltimore Colts1976Al DavisOakland Raiders1977Tex SchrammDallas Cowboys1978John ThompsonSeattle Seahawks1979John SandersSan Diego Chargers1980Eddie LeBaronAtlanta Falcons1981Paul BrownCincinnati Bengals1982Bobby BeathardWashington Redskins1983Bobby BeathardWashington Redskins1984George YoungNew York Giants1985Mike McCaskeyChicago Bears1986George YoungNew York Giants1987Jim FinksNew Orleans Saints1988Bill PolianBuffalo Bills1989John McVaySan Francisco 49ers1990George YoungNew York Giants1991Bill PolianBuffalo Bills1992Ron WolfGreen Bay Packers1993George YoungNew York Giants1994Carmen PolicySan
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