It's clear: DeCosta is Ravens' future GM

The Ravens announced that director of player personnel Eric DeCosta will remain with the team after being one of the most sought-after general manager candidates in the NFL. While it's not in the team's release, the message is clear: DeCosta will be the Ravens' next general manager when Ozzie Newsome decides to step down.

DeCosta showed his loyalty in 2009 when he pulled his name out of the Seattle Seahawks' general manager search. But he truly showed his commitment to the Ravens when he decided to stay this time. Three teams (the Colts, Rams and Bears) reportedly requested permission to speak to DeCosta, so this was his best chance to become another team's top decision-maker.

By turning down that chance, DeCosta is essentially tied to the Ravens for the long haul. Of course, the Ravens almost certainly made it worthwhile for DeCosta to remain with the team.

Newsome, 55, the only general manager in the Ravens' history, has never publicly said when he would step down (and owner Steve Bisciotti made it clear that it's Newsome's call). One could conjecture by today's announcement that Newsome could have given a more definitive timeline, which would allow the Ravens to provide more assurances to DeCosta.

“Since this franchise started in 1996, we’ve established a strong history of retaining our most important executives, players, coaches and personnel experts,” Newsome said in a statement. “Eric, who has had opportunities to interview with other teams recently and over the years, is another one we want to keep and will keep. He has chosen to stay with the Ravens, and we’re excited that he will. He is a most valuable asset and will continue to help us win championships.”

It's a win-win for the Ravens and DeCosta. The Ravens don't lose a proven evaluator of talent to one of their competitors, and DeCosta stays with a team and owner that he is very comfortable with. Other Ravens' front-office members have gone elsewhere -- Phil Savage, James Harris and George Kokinis -- and the situations have never panned out for them. None are general managers anymore.

It's always been speculated that DeCosta is the Ravens' general manager-in-waiting. After today's announcement, there is no longer any speculation.