Ravens GM Addresses Which QB Will Backup Lamar Jackson in 2024

May 2, 2024

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and backup Tyler Huntley warm up before game.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and backup Tyler Huntley warm up before game.

he Baltimore Ravens have one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Lamar Jackson, but that did not stop them from taking a late-round flyer on a potential project.

GM Eric DeCosta used a sixth-round pick on Saturday, April 27, to select QB Devin Leary out of Kentucky. The Ravens hadn’t drafted a QB since Trace McSorley was picked in the sixth round of the 2019 draft.

Dustin Cox of USA Today’s RavensWire covered the draft pick and DeCosta’s thoughts on who would back up the MVP Jackson.

Cox wrote, “When speaking to the media following the end of the draft, Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta confirmed that veteran quarterback Josh Johnson will remain Lamar Jackson’s primary backup this season while Leary develops.”

DeCosta told media, “Josh will be the backup quarterback, and I think Devin will develop,” Cox wrote.

Ravens fans and the team will hope that neither Johnson or Leary see the field this season except for preseason or mop-up duty but DeCosta clearly felt it was time to take another flier out on the position.

Jackson is only 27 years old and coming off a second MVP season, but in the NFL, GMs are always thinking about the future.

Josh Johnson Holds on to Job Over Devin Leary for Now

The Ravens were in the market for a backup QB for the first time in a few seasons this free agency.

Cox wrote, “Some fans were left questioning the Baltimore Ravens’ selection of Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary with the No. 218 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2024 NFL Draft.”

He goes on to explain, “However, following the departure of Tyler Huntley to the Cleveland Browns in free agency, the Ravens needed an alternative cheap solution to the backup quarterback position for the foreseeable future.”

The Ravens re-signed journeyman Josh Johnson earlier in the offseason; however, that is not a long-term solution.

Johnson is a former fifth round pick that has been around the league, including stops in Baltimore already, who will be 38 years old by the start of the 2024 season.

He entered the league in 2009 but has only played in a total of 39 games and started only 9. Leary can develop into the capable backup that Huntley had been for Jackson over the last four years.

Jackson has dealt with injury concerns in the past, although he was healthy in 2023, so the Ravens understand the importance of having someone that can stop in and manage a game if necessary.

Devin Leary Drafted Into Good Situation for Himself

For Leary the draft situation could not have been much more beneficial for the 5-year starter. Leary was ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s 13th ranked QB in the class and now joins a franchise that has helped Jackson develop into a two-time MVP and developed undrafted Huntley into one of the better backups.

ESPN’s Baltimore writer, Jamison Hensley, wrote, “Leary has the potential to be the Ravens’ long-term backup.”

Hensley goes on to write, “It’s no surprise Baltimore used a late-round pick on Leary, a five-year starter who threw 25 touchdown passes last season for Kentucky.”

The Ravens brought in Malik Cunningham during the 2023 season as another potential project but it appears they may be moving on from that.

Hensley wrote, “They’ve been noncommittal about his role this offseason.” According to Cox, “The former Louisville quarterback’s future at the position in the NFL is uncertain as he has taken work at wide receiver for Baltimore.”

Leary has his warts that he will need to work on if he wants to stick as a long-term backup in the league. Hensley advised, “Accuracy is a concern with Leary. His 56% completion rate last season ranked 62nd out of 69 qualified Power 5 QBs, although Kentucky’s pass-catchers combined for an 8.5% drop rate (the highest in Power 5).”