The Baltimore Ravens have had more than a year to consider all of the possibilities that are associated with attempting to come to terms with a franchise quarterback committed to receiving a fully-guaranteed contract. Nothing that they do will be the product of a rash decision. They know all of the angles.
One of those many angles is ending up without Lamar Jackson, whom they drafted in the first round and developed. He has the second-best winning percentage as a starter since entering the NFL behind only Patrick Mahomes, but he’s spent the past two years as a spectator due to injury.
If he ends up watching Ravens games next year from afar, then of course Baltimore will have to have answers. And that likely wouldn’t be Tyler Huntley. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, they have been doing their homework on the quarterback market as contingency plans.
He reported via Twitter yesterday that they looked into options such as Baker Mayfield (who agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Jacoby Brissett, set to be a member of the Washington Commanders. “Baltimore appears to be looking for flexibility”, he added.
He didn’t mention bigger names, perhaps it is worth noting, like Derek Watt and Jimmy Garoppolo. But there are other options that they could consider, such as Teddy Bridgewater or Marcius Mariota, who would seem to fall within the same territory of Brissett and Mayfield.
As for Huntley, if they really believed in him so strongly, they might have been willing to give the former undrafted free agent more than the right-of-first-refusal restricted tender, which pays out at a little more than $2.6 million. After all, he was a Pro Bowler.
While the second-round tender is over $4 million, if a team were to sign Huntley to an offer sheet they were unwilling or unable to match (which is certainly possible given the burden Jackson’s franchise tag has put on their salary cap), they would get nothing in return.
One does wonder what to make of this report from Fowler, if anything. It would be natural for any team in their circumstances to explore their options, even if they are fully committed to trying to bring Jackson’s contract situation to a conclusion.
It may signal that they are not confident he would be willing to sign the tag and play under it. He’s already made about $32 million in his career, so he wouldn’t be eating cat food if he were to sit out the season, or threaten to do so.