Do Ravens have enough support for Lamar Jackson with backup quarterbacks?

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens are prepared to go into the season with Josh Johnson as the main backup quarterback for Lamar Jackson.

Malik Cunningham, who was signed off the Patriots’ practice squad last season, will battle to be the third quarterback.

However, there are questions about whether the Ravens should sign a more established veteran player in case Jackson is sidelined.

Jackson missed five games in 2021 because of a knee injury and a sprained posterior cruciate ligament caused him to miss another five games in 2022. The Ravens went 2-8 over that stretch, so there is a huge void when Jackson is not in the lineup.

Johnson is a 38-year-old journeyman who has played for 14 NFL teams. He is 14-25 as a starter, throwing for 2,280 yards with 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions over his nine-year career.

Coach John Harbaugh has confidence that Johnson can lead the team.

“Josh will be the backup quarterback. He’s coming back,” Harbaugh said. “[We’re] thrilled to have him back. He can still play at a really high level. He knows the offense inside and out. He contributes to the offense. He and Lamar [Jackson] have a great relationship, so I think he brings so much to us.”

For the past four years, the Ravens kept Tyler Huntley as the backup quarterback before he signed with the Cleveland Browns this offseason. Huntley went 3-6 as the Ravens’ starter with a 64.6 completion percentage, 1,957 yards, eight touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He has a career 79.0 quarterback rating.

Huntley also started one playoff game in 2023 and is best remembered for his fumble on the 1-yard line that was returned for a 98-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Bengals, who advanced with a 24-17 victory.

The Ravens are intrigued by Cunningham, who was teammates with Jackson for one season (2017) at the University of Louisville. Cunningham ranks fourth in the Cardinals’ program history with 9,664 passing yards and third with 3,184 rushing yards.

The Patriots signed Cunningham as a rookie free agent in May. Cunningham was released in August but was signed to the practice squad. On October 14th, he was signed to the active roster but he was released 10 days later and signed again to the practice squad.

He played in one game but did not attempt a pass and was sacked once.

In addition to playing quarterback, Cunningham can contribute on special teams and even line up as a wide receiver.

“Malik, it’s kind of just an opportunity for him,” Harbaugh said. “[He’s] a great guy. I love his personality. From what I can see, his work ethic is really good, all those kinds of things, so that’s just … We’ll see what happens with that and see how he looks when we get out there.”


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