There is no question about who will be in the Baltimore Ravens' pocket come September and Week 1 of the 2023 NFL football season: that's Lamar Jackson for you, the richest man in the NFL thanks to his humongous $260 million, five-year contract.
Past Lamar, though, questions abound. Who will take on the QB2 role next season? Will it be Tyler Huntley, who already started a bunch of games last year? Will it be Josh Johnson, who signed with the Ravens this very offseason?
Two beat reporters covering the Ravens, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic and Jamison Hensley of ESPN recently wrote their personal previews of Baltimore's training camp, including the battles they expect to take place at Owings Mills, MD, through the summer.
"Whether it’s legitimate competition for the No. 2 quarterback job between Huntley and Johnson depends on who you ask. There certainly seemed to be one brewing with how the repetitions were divided during offseason practices. It’s also not a secret that the Ravens tried to find an upgrade over Huntley for the No. 2 quarterback spot this offseason, but Baker Mayfield and Jacoby Brissett, among others, opted to sign elsewhere where they’d have a better chance to start. Still, Huntley has to be considered the favorite over the journeyman Johnson, who has been viewed around the league in recent years as more of a No. 3 quarterback."- Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic
As Zrebiec sees it, only two quarterbacks will make it to the final 53-man roster of the Ravens come regular-season time: Jackson and Huntley. Josh Johnson would get the boot.
Although the pundit considers the battle an open one ("Whether it’s legitimate competition for the No. 2 quarterback job between Huntley and Johnson depends on who you ask") he also believes that "Huntley has to be considered the favorite over the journeyman Johnson, who has been viewed around the league in recent years as more of a No. 3 quarterback."
At the end of the day, though, Zrebiec adds an interesting question that could factor into Baltimore's final decision: "Will the Ravens keep three quarterbacks? A new rule for 2023 allows teams to activate an emergency third quarterback who wouldn’t require a roster spot on game day."
We'll have to wait and see how the franchise deals with that quirk knowing that a QB3 would need to be named on the 53-man roster.
"The more interesting competition (on Baltimore's training camp) is the primary backup to Jackson. Tyler Huntley has been the top backup the last two seasons, but the Ravens looked to upgrade this offseason when they talked with Baker Mayfield, Jacoby Brissett and Taylor Heinicke."
Hensley thinks that the most "talked about" battle involves the left guard position, but that doesn't mean there won't be a fight for the QB2 role rights.
The reporter pointed out that while Huntley has been the top backup for two years, "the Ravens looked to upgrade this offseason when they talked with Baker Mayfield, Jacoby Brissett, and Taylor Heinicke." That, for Hensley, is enough of a reason to consider Baltimore is looking into moving on from Huntley.
Of course, the Ravens ended up signing Johnson, who Hensley believes "has a legitimate shot to win the job." That's because "Johnson has more experience and costs $1.5 million less."
As you see, opinions change from one person to the next one, they are based on both talent and financial impact and the only thing clear right now is that as long as Lamar Jackson remains healthy he will get to play any and every snap the Ravens take next year.
We can only hope Lamar stays on the field for the full season so we don't ever have to think about who'll be stepping up in his absence once he goes down. Fingers crossed, Flock Nation!