Even after placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens explored quarterbacks on the free agency market.
The 2023 league year officially opened up at 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 15, and some of the top free agents are coming off the board, especially the quarterbacks. For the Baltimore Ravens, they are facing some uncertainty regarding Lamar Jackson, who is due for a new contract. The team placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, which pays him $32.4 million for the 2023 season but allows him to speak to other teams about a potential deal. Jackson is reportedly looking for a nearly fully guaranteed deal.
But just how confident are the Ravens in their ability to keep Jackson for the 2023 season at minimum?
According to ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler, the Ravens explored the quarterback market in free agency and even looked at Baker Mayfield and Jacoby Brissett.
NFL rumors: Ravens looking into QBs could be preparation for losing Lamar Jackson
As for the options that Fowler listed for the Ravens, they are no longer available. Mayfield signed a one-year contract worth up to $8.5 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As for Brissett, he signed one-year deal with the Washington Commanders, seemingly to compete with Sam Howell for the starting quarterback job.
The Ravens did make a move on Wednesday, and it was an in-house transaction. They placed the first right of refusal tender on Tyler Huntley, where he can get signed to an offer sheet by Apr. 21, and the Ravens would have to match it. If not, he is under contract for the 2023 season for $2.627 million.
Huntley filled in for Jackson late last season after he suffered a PCL sprain. Huntley went 2-2 record and threw for 658 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions while having a 67.0 completion percentage. In the playoffs, Huntley nearly led the Ravens to a Wild Card Round win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
With Jackson, he can begin speaking to interested teams right now as the league year opened. If a team signs him to an offer sheet, the Ravens would have to match it. If they refuse, the team interested in Jackson would have to give Baltimore two first-round picks.
The Ravens technically have Jackson under contract for next season, barring a team doesn’t sign him to an offer sheet. But it sounds like they were doing their due diligence regarding the quarterback.