Trey Lance being on the trade market may have piqued the interest of several teams around the NFL, but the Baltimore Ravens weren’t one of them, despite reports to the contrary.
General manager Eric DeCosta offered this emphatic denial of the idea the Ravens were ever interested in the quarterback per Kyle Phoenix Barber of SB Nation’s Baltimore Beatdown: “I would say that’s just bad reporting. If somebody calls you and asks if you’re interested in a player and you say ‘no’ does that mean you’re interested in that player?”
DeCosta even doubled down by revealing, “we weren’t looking to add any quarterbacks at all this training camp,” per another tweet from Barber.
More from DeCosta:
“We’ve got good quarterbacks. We love our quarterbacks. We weren’t looking to add any quarterbacks at all this training camp. That’s what I would say on that.”
— Kyle Phoenix Barber (@KylePBarber) September 1, 2023
Lance, the third player taken in the 2021 NFL draft, was traded by the San Francisco 49ers to the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, August 26, for a fourth-round pick in 2024.
The aftermath of the deal included a report from Dianna Russini of The Athletic, who named the Ravens, Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions as teams who “had conversations” about a deal for the dual-threat signal-caller.
The Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens are two teams that had conversations with San Francisco about a possible trade for Trey Lance.
In the NFC, the Detroit Lions also showed interest, per sources.
Most of the early discussions about a trade involved a 6th rounder that…
— Dianna Russini (@DMRussini) August 26, 2023
Lance’s mobility might have been a good fit for the Ravens, given how effectively starter Lamar Jackson also gashes defenses with his legs. Yet, DeCosta’s blunt rebuttal of the trade rumors shows the Ravens are more than happy with the situation behind Jackson, where Tyler Huntley is the obvious QB2.
Ravens Set at Football’s Most Important Position
Jackson signing a five-year contract worth $260 million kept one of the NFL’s premier playmakers in Baltimore. The 2019 league MVP is an elite athlete who has been given everything he needs to make progress as a passer this season.
A fleet of new and more explosive wide receivers led by Odell Beckham Jr. will help Jackson expand what had been a run-first offense. Beckham’s arrival, along with Nelson Agholor and Zay Flowers, the Ravens’ top pick in this year’s draft, mean Jackson will have no shortage of targets.
The only obstacle to Jackson boosting last season’s 62.3 completion percentage and average of 6.9 yards per attempt will be the 26-year-old’s health. No. 8 has missed the last five games of each of the last two regular seasons with ankle and knee injuries.
While the Ravens aren’t the same team without Jackson, DeCosta was still right to avoid a deal for Lance. Especially when the GM knew he already had a reliable backup with ample starting experience.
Ravens’ Backup Plan is Still Strong
Baltimore’s backup plan revolves around Huntley. Fortunately, he’s repaid the faith by going 7-8 during his career, according to StatMuse.
Huntley played well enough last season to merit selection to the Pro Bowl, albeit as an alternate to cover for injuries to Bills’ starter Josh Allen and Miami Dolphins’ passer Tua Tagovailoa. While Huntley’s inclusion raised more than a few eyebrows, he’d still played solid football in relief of Jackson.
The highlight of Huntley’s season was this rushing touchdown to cap a 10-9 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 12.
TOUCHDOWN TYLER HUNTLEY WITH 28 SECONDS TO GO!
📺: #DENvsBAL on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/lqj1QeUtXY pic.twitter.com/1jyUJEggit
— NFL (@NFL) December 4, 2022
This play underlined Huntley’s value as a quarterback with a similar skill set to Jackson’s. There’s little to no transition needed within the offense whenever Huntley has to step in and take the reins.
That continuity is why DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh should have been relieved to see Huntley maintain his grip on the backup job ahead of Josh Johnson during preseason. Johnson is 37, but the Ravens wisely brought the veteran back and signed him to the practice squad following initial roster cuts.
Now the Ravens have decent cover for Huntley’s hamstring problem, with Russini’s colleague Jeff Zrebiec rating Johnson “a good bet” to backup Jackson against the Houston Texans in Week 1.
Johnson’s return also means the Ravens have three competent QBs on the depth chart, making it easy to forget about any trade to bet on Lance finally reaching his potential.
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