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Pros and Cons: Should Jets sign Tyler Huntley?

The Jets have already indicated that they intend to invest in a veteran quarterback to serve as Aaron Rodgers’ backup next season.

With Rodgers coming back from a torn Achilles tendon, they are determined not to repeat what happened in 2023 where they turned to Zach Wilson and he regressed as the season went along, costing them multiple winnable games.

One of the free agents set to hit the open market is Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley. Could he be one of Joe Douglas’ offseason targets?

Let's break down the pros and cons...

Pros

Upside

In 2022, Lamar Jackson was injured and missed the last five games of the regular season. Huntley stepped in and did a good job as a game manager. The Ravens won three low-scoring games down the stretch with Huntley at the helm to make the postseason at 10-7. He then started the first round game against the Cincinnati Bengals, which the Ravens lost by just seven points. Huntley hasn’t really had a chance to build on these performances yet, as Jackson remained healthy in 2023.

Huntley will turn 26 this week, so he’s yet to hit his prime and therefore might have more potential to continue developing than other backups on the market. Could he deputize for Rodgers and learn the ropes under him for the next few years before then being ready to take over? If the Jets think he has long-term starting potential, that might give them extra motivation to bring him in.

Dual-threat

Huntley has good mobility, which enables him to extend plays and move the chains by making plays with his legs. This could add a different dimension to the Jets’ offense if he is forced into action, opening up the possibility of having some designed runs in the playbook.

Mobility is a useful trait for a backup, because without the preparation time that a starter would typically get, they may be forced to improvise more often. It can also help the offensive play-callers run a conservative game plan without becoming too predictable.

Affordable

With only 10 career starts under his belt, including one in the playoffs, Huntley isn’t going to command as high of a salary as some of the other top backup options. With the Jets already committed to paying so much money to Rodgers over the next few years and potentially on the hook for Wilson’s 2024 salary if they can’t trade him, this could be a consideration.

Cons

Unproven

While Huntley has had some success filling in for Jackson, he’s yet to establish himself as a potential long-term option. He acquitted himself well in some close games, but they were mostly low-scoring affairs -- and he has never passed for 230 yards or more in a game he started.

Experience

The Jets have stated their desire to bring in an experienced backup. And while Huntley has been in the league for four seasons, he actually has less on-field experience than Wilson does. While his level of play has typically been higher than that of Wilson when called upon, would Huntley be able to sustain this level over a longer period? Or would he regress as the season went along as Wilson has the past two seasons?

Scheme Fit

As noted, Huntley has some traits that will make him a useful game manager if required to fill in temporarily, but would he be able to handle the complexities of the Jets’ system and read the field efficiently enough to get the ball out on time?

If Huntley was the number two and found himself called into action for an extended period, the Jets might find that they would need to pare back and simplify the system, because they wouldn’t be able to rely on Huntley to make checks and adjustments at the line the way Rodgers would.

Verdict

Huntley has some good potential and held his own over a short period of time when forced to replace an elite quarterback in the past. However, the Jets may prefer someone more established who has had experience taking the reins for a longer period.

You can probably expect their priority to be signing one of the more experienced backup options on the market, which includes Jacoby Brissett, Gardner Minshew, Ryan Tannehill, and Tyrod Taylor. However, if they fail to land any of them, Huntley might be someone they’ll consider as an alternative.