Several teams around the league had open competitions in training camp and the preseason at the most important position in all of sports, quarterback. The saddest and most uninspiring battle by far took place in the Pacific Northwest and came to an anticlimactic conclusion.
The Seattle Seahawks named career journeyman backup Geno Smith their starting quarterback following their final preseason game on August 28. 2022. They were essentially forced to do so by default because fourth-year pro Drew Lock made a woeful final push for the job in a poor performance against the Dallas Cowboys where he went 13-of-24 for 174 passing yards and threw just one touchdown to three interceptions.
Smith served as the team’s backup for the last two years and Lock was acquired as part of the trade that sent their former franchise quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. The team opted not to take a player at the position in this year’s draft and neither Smith of Lock inspires much confidence or excitement about the prospects of their offense and team overall in 2022.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is renowned for his love of competition but many in the media as well as around the league believe that the organization is content with bottoming out or taking a reset year in 2022. However, they could elevate their quarterback room in the immediate and foreseeable future by trading for Baltimore Ravens‘ backup quarterback Tyler Huntley in a move that makes sense for all parties involved.
Selling Points for Seattle
Huntley established himself as one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league when he started four games in place of former league MVP Lamar Jackson due to illness and injury last season.
Even though the team went just 1-3 in games with him at the helm, it wasn’t because the former undrafted free agent wasn’t effective under center. He threw for 1081 passing yards and scored five total touchdowns to four interceptions with a respectable quarterback rating of 76.6.
Huntley is coming off an extremely strong preseason where he showed tremendous growth and refinement to his game. The third-year pro saw five quarters of action in the month of August in the first half of the Ravens’ three exhibition games and displayed improved accuracy, pocket presence, and overall mechanics. He ran to extend plays and buy more time for his pass catchers to uncover instead of just taking off when his first read wasn’t open as he did last year.
He went 31-of-36 for 263 passing yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions and run for 26 yards on five carries during the preseason. For comparison’s sake, Pittsburgh Steelers first-round rookie Kenny Pickett went 29-of-36 for 261 passing yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions and has been the toast of the league and has fans as well as media pundits clamoring for him to start over Mitchell Trubisky.
Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Jordan Love, who was drafted in the first round in the same year Huntley went undrafted is being talked about in higher regard. However, he went 41-of-71 for 437 passing yards with three touchdowns to three interceptions in the preseason and he got to play extensively into the second halves of his team’s exhibition games against lesser competition.
In a press conference ahead of the Ravens’ preseason finale on August 25, 2022, head coach John Harbaugh said that the team is “blessed” to have him as their backup to Jackson and that he “definitely” believes that he could be a starting quarterback in the league for another team.
There is no guarantee that the Seahawks will be able to land one of the top quarterback prospects in next year’s NFL Draft. Acquiring Huntley would provide them with a significant upgrade over what they currently have on the roster at the position with a player that is just 24 years old and is only making $895,000 in 2022 per Spotrac and could end up being their long-term answer or at least a more than a serviceable stop-gap option.
Beneficial for Baltimore
While Huntley is the ideal backup for Jackson that wouldn’t force them to limit their playbook or shift their scheme in the event of injury, he isn’t the only dual-threat quarterback that showed out in the preseason for the team. Undrafted rookie Anthony Brown was at the helm for most of the second half of each of the Ravens’ exhibition games and even saw some time in the first half of the preseason finale and looked great when he was on the field.
The former Oregon product went 35-of-47 for 464 passing yards, three touchdowns, and one interception and added 22 rushing yards on five carries. Despite showing that he does his best work from the pocket while still being able to display his mobility, Brown surprisingly didn’t get claimed when he went on waivers after being released during the final round of cuts.
He will be sticking around after signing to the Ravens’ practice squad which gives them three quarterbacks at their disposal that are not only familiar with but are capable of running and thriving in their unique offense. Huntley is likely on the monitor of a lot of teams that are uncertain about their quarterback position or don’t have overwhelming confidence in their current starter like the Seahawks assuredly are but won’t admit openly.
There’s no telling what the trade market for him will be months or even a year from now if they place a high-round tender on him since he’ll be a restricted free after the 2022 season. Waiting and hoping to get a third-round compensatory pick the year after he inevitably departs in free agency or betting on his trade value being at the same level or higher during the offseason after locking up Jackson long-term could be too risky of a gamble.
General manager Eric DeCosta can get an immediate return from a team that will hold four picks in the top two rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft if he and Seahawks general manager John Schneider can agree on a deal to ensure Huntley lands with a team in the opposite conference that wants to remain competitive.