Ravens Pro Bowl QB to Sign Contract Tender Soon: Report

Ravens QBs Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley

Getty Ravens QB Tyler Huntley could play a vital role for the team if their starter misses time.

The Baltimore Ravens will have one of their two Pro Bowl quarterbacks officially sign their respective contract tenders on Monday, April 24, 2023. Unfortunately, it isn’t former unanimous league MVP Lamar Jackson but rather his understudy Tyler Huntley according to a report from NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero on Friday, April 21, 2023.

The team placed a right-of-first-refusal tender on the former undrafted free agent out of Utah in 2020, It allowed them the chance to match any offer sheet Huntley might have signed with a different team. Unlike the case with Jackson, if they declined to match an offer, they wouldn’t receive any compensation.

Pelissero also reported that the fourth-year pro has been working out at the team facility and has plans to head to Tampa, Florida to meet up with some of his teammates for some throwing sessions in his and Jackson’s home state.

Huntley has established himself as one of the better backups in the league coming in and starting in relief of Jackson over the past two seasons. In 2021, when Jackson missed time for injury and illness, he went 1-3 as a starter and threw for 1081 passing yards and three touchdowns, and four interceptions while adding another 294 yards and two scores on the ground according to Pro Football Reference.

In 2022, he went 2-2 as a starter, completed a career-high 67 percent of his passes for 658 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, and ran for another 137 yards and a score. Huntley also made his playoff debut as a starter and had his best game in the team’s 24-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Super Wildcard weekend where he threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns and an interception.

Despite starting less than half the season, he was named to his first career Pro Bowl as an alternate after several other AFC quarterbacks decided not to participate in the all-star event this past February year.

Ravens Could Still Target His Replacement via the Draft

As solid as Huntley has been, the team will only be able to retain his services at below-market value for a player at his position with his experience and Pro Bowl pedigree albeit as a questionable alternate for just one more year.

After watching the likes of Mike White and Jarrett Stidham sign handsome deals to be backups with the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos respectively, it is not inconceivable to think that Huntley could garner a salary similar to what they received. White signed a two-year deal worth $8 million and Stidham signed a two-year deal worth $10 million and even combined, they have fewer career wins than Huntley in the same amount of starts including the postseason.

If Huntley has to start in place of Jackson again this year as a result of illness, injury, or a potential holdout if he doesn’t report or sign his franchise tender, the 25-year-old’s price could go up even more.

If he excels in new offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s offense which already has the best wide receiver depth chart the team has had since their 2012 Superbowl run. This offseason, the front office has added Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor this offseason, are still expected to add a rookie fairly early in the draft, and there’s 2021 first-rounder Rashod Bateman still on the roster.

With that likely in mind, the Ravens will more than likely look to add a developmental quarterback sometime on day three of the 2023 NFL Draft between the fourth and seventh rounds and perhaps even sign another as a priority undrafted free agent like Huntley.

Pelissero spoke with dozens of NFL executives, scouts, and coaches and put together a “full breakdown of the 16 quarterbacks with the best chance to get drafted”. Some prospects projected to go on day three that might pique the interest of general manager Eric DeCosta and Co. include Georgia’s Stetson Bennett in rounds 5-6, UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson in rounds 5-6, TCU’s Max Duggan in round 7/UDFA, and Lousiville’s Malik Cunningham in round 7/UDFA.

Odell Beckham Jr. Signing Has No Barring on Negotiations With Jackson

When the Ravens inked the dynamic and polarizing three-time Pro Bowl wideout to a one-year deal worth up to $18 million, it was widely assumed that the former league MVP on the roster that reportedly helped recruit him would be a lock to play for the team in 2023 at least.

That flame of speculation was fanned further when Jackson posted a screenshot of the two of them face-timing on social media. However, it rapidly cooled when Beckham Jr. shared that he was given “no assurances” that the two of them would be working together although he express that it was his hope upon signing.

According to one of Pelissero’s fellow contributors for NFL.com, Adam Schein, the signing “doesn’t really change anything. And it shouldn’t.”

“Lamar’s Ravens return isn’t about OBJ; it’s about cash money,” he wrote. “Can the quarterback and the team find middle ground? I hope so. This is one of the game’s most electric players and one of the league’s most stable franchises.”

He reiterated the wide belief that Jackson is likely still seeking a a fully gartunteed contract in the neighborhood or even surpassing that of Deshaun Watson who received a five-year contract worth $230 million fully-garunteed from the Cleveland Browns last offseason and even made the case for why he deserves more.

“He’s achieved greater individual success (SEE: 2019 NFL MVP) and boasts a far superior win-loss record (45-16, compared to Watson’s 31-28 mark),” Schien wrote. “But here’s the problem: Watson didn’t deserve that gargantuan guarantee in the first place. And everyone knows it.”

The recent record-setting extension that the Philadelphia Eagles signed Jalen Hurts to further proves that Watson’s contract structure was an outlier that was ill-advisedly given by a desperate team.

Hurts’ $179.3 million in garuntees didn’t come close to Watson’s figure but he still became the highest paid player in terms of average annual salary in NFL history. Whether Jackson is the next to sign or waits to see what Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert get paid, it will likely fall short of fully guaranteed as well whether if he’s willing to accept it or not.

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