Tyler Huntley

QB Options Steelers Considered Before Landing Wilson, Fields

The Steelers’ quarterbacks room underwent a complete overhaul last month, with every quarterback previously on the roster finding their way out of Pittsburgh while every passer currently on the roster was not a Steeler last season. While it looks like Pittsburgh certainly found its way to the best of a bad situation, things could’ve played out much differently, according to Brooke Pryor of ESPN.

The bad situation referred to above was the quarterback situation immediately following last season. Former first-round quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett were failing to live up to their draft stock, and their best hope was to ride with the hot-handed Mason Rudolph, an option they had never shown much trust in in the past and one who was bound for free agency.

The overhaul began with the release of Trubisky, who returned to Buffalo to serve as Josh Allen‘s backup. Then, things really hit the fan when Pittsburgh landed the signature of Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson, who would presumably slide in as the new starter, despite assurances that he would compete with Pickett for the job. Rudolph, seeing his chances at a starting job disappear, opted not to return signing with the Titans. And, after seeing the writing on the wall, Pickett asked for a trade, which the Steelers honored by sending him to Philadelphia, where he would back up Jalen Hurts. Finally, the Steelers filled out the rest of their room by trading for the former polarizing Bears quarterback Justin Fields and signing veteran backup quarterback Kyle Allen.

They flipped a room that appeared to have a pretty low floor with an unclear ceiling and turned it into a room full of proven experience and future potential without committing too many resources to acquire it. Before they landed on Wilson as their best option moving forward, though, the team looked at a few other options.

After hiring former Falcons head coach Arthur Smith as their new offensive coordinator, Pittsburgh felt comfortable moving forward with Pickett leading a run-heavy, play-action offense. Smith had run a successful version of that style of offense in Tennessee with Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. The team even explored reuniting Tannehill and Smith with the veteran quarterback hitting free agency this offseason. They also kicked the tires on new Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins before deciding that he was out of their price range.

They also nearly pulled the trigger on a second backup option before trading for Fields. The Steelers reportedly had a high chance of signing new Browns backup quarterback Tyler Huntley, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. A division-rival before and after his new contract, the Steelers had seen Huntley in four of his nine career starts with the Ravens and clearly liked what they saw. With Fields in the fold now, Huntley was the odd man out but ended up staying in the AFC North anyway.

Instead of rolling with Tannehill or Cousins and Huntley, the Steelers are well set up to field an offense with Wilson and Fields in 2024. They certainly did their homework on several options but ended up with what may have been the best-case scenario after a rough 2023 season that saw them shuffle through Pickett, Trubisky, and Rudolph.

Browns To Sign QB Tyler Huntley

The Ravens retained journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson earlier this week, a move which suggested Tyler Huntley would be headed elsewhere in free agency. The latter is indeed set to make an intra-AFC North move.

Huntley, 26, and the Browns have agreed to terms, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports. The former UDFA had been in Baltimore since entering the league in 2020. Over that span, he made 22 combined regular and postseason appearances, 10 of which were starts. This one-year deal will be worth the veteran’s minimum with incentives also in place, Cabot adds.

The Utah alum saw sparse action in 2020, but over the following two seasons he was counted on several times while filling in for an injured Lamar Jackson. Huntley started four games to close out the campaign in 2021 and ’22, and also served as the Ravens’ quarterback for the team’s wild-card loss in Cincinnati during the latter year. He showcased his mobility with 485 rushing yards over that span, but a 7:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio indicated his limitations as a passer on a long-term basis.

Baltimore has Jackson on the books thanks to the mega-deal he signed last offseason. Johnson and midseason pickup Malik Cunningham will vie for the backup job behind him, a role Huntley previously occupied. With Jackson remaining healthy in 2023, the latter made only a few appearances in mop-up duty before starting a Week 18 game which had no playoff implications for Baltimore. He will now head to Cleveland looking to compete for the QB2 role.

That spot is currently projected to go to Jameis Winston, who inked a one-year deal with a maximum value of $8.7MM. Winston has said he has eyes on a return to starting duties, but his only avenue to reach the top of Cleveland’s QB depth chart would be another injury suffered by Deshaun Watson. The Browns also have 2023 fifth-rounder Dorian Thompson-Robinson in the fold; his play last summer enticed Cleveland to trade away Joshua Dobbs not long before the start of the season.

Thompson-Robinson did not fare well in his three starts, though, and Joe Flacco served as the Browns’ starter late in the year and through the postseason. 2023’s Comeback Player of the Year was not retained, however, and the combination of Winston, Thompson-Robinson and now Huntley will vie for playing time behind Watson. Cleveland’s fully-guaranteed $230MM pact for Watson has left the team in need of inexpensive options down the depth chart, and Huntley will no doubt fit the bill in that regard on this Browns pact.

Named a Pro Bowler in 2022 (a season which featured a slew of AFC quarterback injuries) Huntley played out last season on his RFA tender. That $2.63MM tender represents by far the most lucrative contract of his NFL career. It will be interesting to see the terms of this Cleveland agreement given the investments already made in Watson and Winston. Looking for better depth under center in 2024, the Browns will have several options to choose from when filling out their depth chart.

Ravens QB Tyler Huntley Signs RFA Tender

Despite the questions that still remain with starting quarterback Lamar Jackson, the Ravens secured their backup role today when Tyler Huntley signed his restricted free agent tender, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. Huntley will return Baltimore after three years with the team.

Despite signing with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent out of Utah, Huntley has outlasted veterans and draft picks as the team’s preferred option to backup Jackson. He only appeared in minimal time in two games as a rookie but has since started four games in each of the last two seasons. In total, Huntley has found time in 15 games, leading the Ravens to a 3-5 record in his eight starts.

Huntley is an attractive athlete for Baltimore because he has a skillset that allows the Ravens to keep the same offensive game plan on the field when Jackson is absent. Huntley has throwing ability to go along with a talent rushing the ball.

The difference is that he doesn’t quite do it as effectively as Jackson. Huntley matches Jackson with a good completion percentage (65.6% to Jackson’s 63.7%), but averages nearly 60 fewer passing yards per game and over 30 fewer rushing yards per game. He is also less efficient, throwing five touchdowns to seven interceptions, compared to Jackson’s 101 passing touchdowns to 38 interceptions.

While Huntley isn’t quite ready to permanently take over under center, the Ravens value him as their primary backup. While they explored the free agent market, they placed the original round restricted tender on Huntley. They’ll stick with Huntley now on the $2.63MM that his tender pays out in 2023.

Huntley is joined in the quarterbacks room by a fellow Pac-12 undrafted passer in Anthony Brown. They’re obviously expected to enter the season as backup quarterbacks, but with Jackson still not having signed his franchise tag, Huntley will want to be ready in case of a holdout.

Ravens Place Low RFA Tender On QB Tyler Huntley; Team Involved In Free Agent Market

Lamar Jackson is the Ravens quarterback which is drawing the most attention as the new league year officially begins, but he is not the only Baltimore quarterback facing an uncertain future. Backup Tyler Huntley is receiving the low (right of first refusal) restricted free agent tender, as noted (on Twitter) by Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

Doing so will lock him into a 2023 salary of $2.63MM, presuming he signs the tender. From now until April 21, however, the 25-year-old will be able to receive offer sheets from other teams. Signing one of them would give the Ravens seven days to match, which could force them to keep him at a more cumbersome cap number. Since Huntley was a UDFA, however, Baltimore would receive no compensation if he were to depart.

The Ravens could have used the second-round tender, valued at just over $4.3MM. That would have required a larger financial commitment, of course, but provided less of an incentive to interested teams to prepare on offer sheet. It also would have guaranteed compensation had the Utah alum elected to leave in search of a different opportunity. The likeliest outcome in this situation still remains, however, Huntley remaining with the Ravens for at least one more season.

Huntley has seen action in 13 regular season games over the past two years, filling in for Jackson following the latter’s in injuries. His play in 2021 earned him the low tender this past offseason, allowing him to remain in place in the N0. 2 role. His most notable action to date was his start in the Ravens’ wild card loss to the Bengals, in which he threw for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns and added 54 yards on the ground.

Turnovers in that contest, and generally underwhelming play in the 2022 regular season in particular, are likely to hinder the market for Huntley (though they, coupled with a multitude of other absences, allowed him to be named a Pro Bowler) and represent the ceiling of his potential. Still, his future is currently in the balance, as is that of Jackson, who is now eligible to negotiate with other teams on a new contract.

Amidst their uncertainty under center, the Ravens have been “involved” in the free agent quarterback market, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (Twitter link). Specifically, he names Baker Mayfield and Jacoby Brissett as veterans Baltimore has inquired about. They have since agreed to deals with the Buccaneers and Commanders, respectively, but other cost-effective options still remain if the team is forced to replace Jackson. Regardless of what happens at the top of the depth chart, the Ravens should still have Huntley available as a depth and spot-starter option.

Lamar Jackson To Miss Wild-Card Game

JANUARY 15: The Ravens plan to play both Huntley and Brown in their contest against the Bengals, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Huntley was a full participant in practice on Friday, and Baltimore did not elevate Brett Hundley from the practice squad.

JANUARY 13: As expected, the Ravens ruled Jackson out for a sixth straight game. After practicing in full Friday, Huntley should be expected to return to Baltimore’s starting lineup. Though, the Ravens will not name a starter until Sunday.

JANUARY 12: Jackson missed another practice Thursday and opted to provide his own update on his injury, calling it a grade 2 PCL sprain “on the borderline of a [grade] 3” (Twitter link). The fifth-year passer said swelling remains and the knee is unstable. A grade 2 sprain is a partial tear, while a grade 3 is essentially a full tear. A setback that was initially rumored to cause a one- to three-game absence is almost certainly set to sideline Jackson for a sixth.

I wish I could be out there with my guys more than anything but I can’t give a 100% of myself to my guys and fans,” Jackson said (on Twitter). “I’m still hopeful we still have a chance.”

This update will undoubtedly be followed by Jackson being declared out for Sunday night’s game. Even if the Ravens are to upset the defending AFC champions, Jackson’s comments make it sound like the next time he takes the field will be in Week 1 of the 2023 season.

JANUARY 11: In what is becoming a weekly update, Lamar Jackson looks to again be heading toward a Sunday in street clothes. The injured superstar is facing an uphill battle to play against the Bengals, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link).

Out with a PCL sprain since Week 13, Jackson has not practiced since the injury. Attempts to get some work in recently have not gone right, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com adds (via Twitter). While the Ravens have held out hope for a return ahead of their wild-card rubber match with the Bengals, it once again looks like it will be Tyler Huntley or Anthony Brown who receives the call for the offensively limited team.

Jackson did not practice Wednesday, and Huntley did not throw during the portion of the workout open to media, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com notes. Jackson has now missed 16 consecutive practices. Huntley, who missed Week 18, is battling tendinitis in his throwing shoulder.

The Ravens were not exactly soaring prior to losing Jackson, but they have been historically limited — for a playoff team — offensively without the former MVP. They are averaging 12.5 points per game without Jackson, a mark ahead of only the Jets during that period. Baltimore’s 75 points over its final six games are the second-fewest in the Super Bowl era, per NFL Research, painting a bleak picture for a game the NFL slotted in the Sunday-night window.

Over the past day, sources around the situation have become more pessimistic regarding Jackson’s availability, Rapoport adds. With Jackson’s knee still “not quite right,” it obviously makes sense for him not to play at significantly less than 100%. Jackson’s game hinges on his running ability, making this injury more of a hindrance for him compared to most quarterbacks. The fifth-year passer also is unsigned beyond this season, a situation that has long pointed to — particularly now that Roquan Smith is locked down — a franchise tag. The Ravens’ performance without Jackson has certainly not hurt his value.

If Jackson sits out this wild-card game, he will have missed 11 games over the past two seasons. An ankle injury sidelined him for the close of Baltimore’s 2021 campaign, which saw the team lose its final six games — despite receiving reasonably effective Huntley play — to finish 8-9. The Ravens have relied more on their defense this year, reaching the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. But this season is starting to look like a missed opportunity for the Ravens, who will need to decide on re-upping Jackson on a contract with guarantees in the Deshaun Watson ballpark ($230MM).

Ravens Hoping QB Lamar Jackson Back For Playoffs

Lamar Jackson has been sidelined for more than a month with a knee injury, but the Ravens are still holding out hope that their franchise quarterback will be back for the postseason. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman told ESPN’s Jamison Hensley that he wouldn’t put it past Jackson to play in the first round of the playoffs.

“He’s a special guy,” Roman said. “I think if somebody’s got a chance to do it, he does.”

“I would say, I would bet on him. I would definitely bet on him,” Roman added. “It’s not an ideal situation, obviously, but it’s a great opportunity when he does come back to get him back in the lineup and get moving.”

Jackson last saw the field on December 4th and hasn’t been spotted at practice since. The Ravens have kept Jackson’s progress close to their vest, with the coaching staff merely admitting that the QB could be back at some point this season. The QB wasn’t practicing again on Friday, and he had a “hitch in his walk” as recently as last Sunday, per Hensley. The coaching staff will obviously get more clarity on Jackson’s condition once he returns to the practice field, with John Harbaugh saying the team was “hopeful” that they’d get a look at the QB next week.

Meanwhile, backup (and fill-in) quarterback Tyler Huntley continues to be limited at practice with shoulder and wrist injuries. If neither of the Ravens’ top two QBs are good to go on Sunday against the Bengals, undrafted rookie Anthony Brown would get the start.

Ravens To Start Tyler Huntley In Week 17

1:58pm: It will be Huntley for a fourth straight game. The Ravens have ruled out Jackson for Week 17.

12:27pm: Lamar Jackson‘s return timetable looks set to be pushed back another week. John Harbaugh said Friday it is a “fair assumption” Tyler Huntley will start against the Steelers.

This will be Huntley’s fourth start this season and ninth over the past two. Jackson’s initial timetable did not indicate he could miss four games, but it appears the Ravens will now hope for a Week 18 return. Jackson has not practiced since suffering a PCL sprain nearly a month ago. The Steelers will be set to face Huntley twice this season; the Ravens won the teams’ first matchup.

The Ravens have been going week to week with Jackson, but his lack of practice time puts his availability for the regular-season finale in doubt. Initial reports pegged a two- or three-game absence as the scenario to expect. Jackson has not undergone surgery, as Zach Wilson did to address his PCL injury in August. Wilson, however, also ended up missing more time than was initially forecasted. He went down August 13 and was given a two- to four-week return timeline, but the second-year Jets QB did not come back until Week 4.

Baltimore has clinched a playoff spot, winning two of Huntley’s three starts. The team has not exactly seen much from its passing attack during Huntley’s second go-round under center. Huntley averaged 193 passing yards per game during his four starts last season. In three this year, the former UDFA is averaging 113.7 per game. Of course, the Ravens’ receiving situation has taken multiple hits. Rashod Bateman has been out since October, and Devin Duvernay joined him on IR recently. Both wideouts are done for the season, increasing Huntley’s degree of difficulty.

The Ravens are 10-5, but if Jackson does not return until the postseason, the team will be unlikely to hold onto the No. 5 seed. Football Outsiders still gives the defensively powered team a 38% chance to stay in the 5 slot, where a Jaguars or Titans matchup would await, and views it as slightly more likely the Ravens win the AFC North than drop to the No. 6 seed. The 10-7 team will continue to hold out hope for Jackson to return, but a Bengals win and a Ravens loss this week would clinch a second straight division title for Cincinnati.

Ravens Rule Out Lamar Jackson For Week 16

Shortly after Lamar Jackson‘s PCL sprain, a return after two missed games was rumored. John Harbaugh closed that door Thursday. Tyler Huntley will make a third consecutive start this week.

This will be Jackson’s eighth missed game in two seasons. The Ravens are 1-1 with Huntley at the controls this year, but they are coming off a listless performance — particularly in the passing game — and will also be without Devin Duvernay in Week 16. The third-year wide receiver suffered a season-ending foot injury in practice this week.

Ahead of the first game Jackson missed, a report indicated there was a “strong chance” he would not be fully healthy until the end of the regular season. This three-game absence matches Zach Wilson‘s miss count, but the Jets quarterback missed around a month before the regular season because of surgery. Jackson did not undergo surgery and obviously relies far more on his running ability compared to the Jets QB.

Last season, Jackson missed one game because of COVID-19 and four more because of a sprained ankle. While Huntley fared decently in the former MVP’s stead, the Ravens lost the five games Jackson did not finish to close out the season. This year, Jackson had the Ravens at 8-4 and atop the AFC North. Although the Ravens’ offense was scuffling a bit with Jackson before he went down — albeit with injuries at running back and a low-end wideout situation — the contract-year performer ranks ninth in QBR. That is up from 17th last season.

Jackson, 25, passed on Ravens extension offers this year and appears poised to be cuffed with the franchise tag before the March deadline. The exclusive tag number is expected to check in north of $45MM, giving the Ravens a historic cap hold on their payroll — unless they and Jackson can reach an extension agreement — entering free agency. Jackson has not exactly boosted his value this season, but his three Pro Bowls and historic run-game impact at his position will continue to make a case for an extension at or near the top of the QB market. Jackson is believed to have pushed for a deal on the Deshaun Watson level, guarantee-wise. While the Ravens have certainly missed him, the $100MM-plus gap between Watson ($230MM fully guaranteed) and the field in terms of full guarantees could create another staredown.

Baltimore closes the regular season with games against the Falcons, Steelers and Bengals. The team is one game back of Cincinnati going into Week 16. The Ravens’ October win over the Bengals would allow for a winner-take-all season finale — should both teams hold serve, a task that might be more difficult for the Bengals considering the Bills will head to Ohio for a Monday-night showdown Jan. 2 — in two weeks. Having Jackson back in time for that game will be paramount for a Ravens team that now has running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards together. Jackson has not played with both those backs in a game since the 2020 season.

AFC Injury Rumors: Pats, White, Wilson

The Patriots will be facing off against the Cardinals on Monday night without a few key pieces. The team’s official injury report lists wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, cornerback Jalen Mills, and offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn as out for the game on Monday night.

Meyers is the team’s leading receiver. Despite trailing running back Rhamondre Stevenson for the team-lead in receptions, Meyers still leads the team in receiving yards, by a healthy margin, and receiving touchdowns with 593 yards and three scores. Without Meyers, quarterback Mac Jones will be throwing to DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, and rookie second-round pick Tyquan Thornton, among a few others. This is the third game of the year that Meyers will miss.

Mills, one of New England’s starters at cornerback, will also be missing his third game of the season and his second consecutive game. When Mills was out last week, the Patriots used a combination of fourth-round rookie Jack Jones, third-round rookie Marcus Jones, and Myles Bryant to replace him. I imagine the same approach will be used tomorrow night to handle Cardinals receivers DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown, and A.J. Green, as Rondale Moore is also reportedly out for Week 14.

The absence of Wynn, a starting tackle, is troubling for the Patriots, as their other starting tackle Trent Brown and backup tackle Yodny Cajuste are both listed as questionable heading into the week. The only tackle on the depth chart with no injury designation is Conor McDermott. Backup linemen James Ferentz and undrafted rookie Kody Russey are also available and starting guard Michael Onwenu could potentially kick out to tackle in an emergency.

Here are a few more injury rumors from around the conference, all concerning signal-callers in the AFC:

  • The Ravens started third-year quarterback Tyler Huntley in place of an injured Lamar Jackson today against the Steelers. The team called up practice squad quarterback, and undrafted rookie, Anthony Brown as a standard gameday elevation in case of emergency, and emergency struck when Huntley left the game in concussion protocol after a brutal blow from Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Brown wasn’t asked to do much but held on to the Ravens lead in a 16-14 win over the team’s division rival. Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that Brown would be playing next Sunday against the Browns if Huntley is unavailable but seemed to think Huntley will be just fine, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. “He seems good to me. He’s reciting the months of the year backwards,” Harbaugh quipped with reporters. “Can you do that right now?”
  • Jets quarterback Mike White took a pounding today during a loss to the Bills in which Buffalo’s defense racked up eight quarterback hits and four sacks. White left the game twice after receiving shots to the ribs. Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco entered in place of White, but, both times, White returned to play and eventually finished a close game in Buffalo. Head coach Robert Saleh informed reporters that White was headed to the hospital after the game for precautionary checks, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. A follow-up provided that White did rejoin the team in time for the flight home after finishing up at the hospital, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. The quarterback situation next week will be something to keep an eye on. If starting quarterbacks Zach Wilson and White remain on the injury report, Flacco could earn his fourth start of the year and his first since September. Flacco would be set to face off against the Lions next week, a team he has never lost to in three matchups over 15 years in the league.
  • Another quarterback who took a beating today, Broncos signal-caller Russell Wilson was knocked out of today’s loss to the Chiefs with a concussion, according to the team’s official Twitter account. Wilson’s day was even more brutal than White’s as the Chiefs defense accounted for six sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Broncos third-year backup quarterback Brett Rypien would enter for Wilson and attempt to mount a comeback against the division rival Chiefs, falling just short when he was hit while throwing on the team’s final drive resulting in a duck of a pass that fluttered down into the waiting arms of Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. Since the loss today officially eliminated the Broncos from postseason contention, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Denver give its quarterback a rest, not rushing Wilson back to play for little-to-no reason. Wilson may be eager to return, but it wouldn’t be shocking if Rypien took the team the rest of the way.

Lamar Jackson Suffers Knee Injury

The Ravens earned a last-minute, come-from-behind victory over the Broncos Sunday afternoon, but the main talking point in the aftermath of the game is the health of their starting quarterback. Lamar Jackson exited the contest after taking a hit in the first quarter, and did not return.

Jackson’s absence was caused by a knee injury, and it remains unclear at this point how much time he will miss as a result of it. When speaking to reporters after the game, head coach John Harbaugh said that Jackson’s recovery timeline would be a matter of “days or weeks,” meaning that it is not expected to be season-ending. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that the 25-year-old is believed to have suffered a knee sprain.

While more will be known in the coming days after further tests, an absence of any length would of course be massive for Baltimore. Jackson has remained the focal point of the Ravens’ offense in 2022, a season in which top wideout Rashod Bateman has suffered a season-ending foot injury, All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley has been limited to six games with lingering ankle issues, and the team has had a resultant inability to find a rhythm in the passing game. On the ground, the two-time Pro Bowler has paced the team with 755 rushing yards entering Week 13 – 363 more than the next-leading rusher.

From a financial standpoint, this injury could loom large. Jackson is scheduled to hit free agency at the end of the year, after he and the Ravens could not reach an agreement on a long-term deal. A franchise tag is widely expected to be used if the same holds true in the coming months, but a lengthy absence – coupled with the Louisville alum’s inconsistent performances this year – could hurt Jackson’s leverage in future negotiations.

In Jackson’s absence, the Ravens turned to backup Tyler Huntley under center. The former UDFA made four starts to close out the 2021 campaign, after Jackson was sidelined by an ankle injury. He went 1-3 in that span, putting up middling passing numbers along the way. His rushing ability (6.3 yards per carry, two touchdowns), however, demonstrated his likeness to Jackson from a skillset perspective, something which could ease another transition to him as the starter if that proves necessary.

With the 10-9 win, the Ravens moved to 8-4 on the season and will retain their lead in the AFC North for at least one more week. Their prospects moving forward, however, could take a substantial hit depending on developments in the coming days.