Tyler Huntley's surprise appearance in the Pro Bowl didn't earn him a pay raise, but the Ravens remain interested in keeping him.
Baltimore is placing the right-of-first-refusal tender on the restricted free agent quarterback, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported.
Huntley's restricted status means the Ravens will be able to match any offer presented to the quarterback. However, Baltimore's low tender offer to the former undrafted free agent means the Ravens won't receive any compensation if Huntley signs an offer sheet and they decline to match the offer.
As the Ravens work through their contract situation with Lamar Jackson, everything remains open to interpretation, including a decision like this. If Baltimore was truly concerned about losing Jackson, it would be wise to secure Huntley's services by offering him a tender that would cost an outside suitor a valuable pick (such as a first- or second-round tender) to sign him away from the Ravens. This isn't foolproof, though, because the Ravens would use a larger portion of cap space with a higher-round tender, potentially overpaying Huntley and taking up roughly twice as much space with the higher tender (between $6.005 million and $4.304 million as opposed to $2.627 million). The latter matters even more as the Ravens brace for the massive cost of a new deal with Jackson.
There is recent precedent for placing a higher tender on a key player: New Orleans used a first-round tender on offensive weapon Taysom Hill in 2020, driving up the price on Hill and demonstrating just how important he was to the franchise's plans at that time, a year before the retirement of Drew Brees.
Huntley has become that important to the Ravens in the last two seasons, stepping in for the injured Jackson and keeping Baltimore competitive enough to reach the playoffs in 2022 and narrowly miss out in 2021. His own injury forced the Ravens to confront a reality with nothing more than an undrafted rookie (Oregon's Anthony Brown) available, further emphasizing the importance of the position.
It will be interesting to see if another team attempts to sign Huntley -- a quality backup regarded highly enough to make an unlikely appearance in the Pro Bowl as an alternate -- away from the Ravens. If anything, it would set a market for Huntley that ideally lands beyond the number the provided by the low tender.