Backing it up: Ravens show their faith in Robert Griffin III

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens still need a pass-rusher after missing out on Justin Houston. The Ravens have a void at wide receiver after parting ways with two of their top three wide receivers.

But the two-year agreement with Robert Griffin III on Thursday is just as important as finding someone to knock down Ben Roethlisberger or get open for Lamar Jackson.

Addressing the backup quarterback spot was a major priority for the defending AFC North champions who are one big hit away from needing a replacement for Jackson.

This isn't like the past decade, when the No. 2 quarterback was an afterthought behind Joe Flacco, one of the most durable passers in NFL history. Baltimore could go with a young Tyrod Taylor, Troy Smith or Ryan Mallett because Flacco started every game in all but one season from 2008 to 2017.

With the way Jackson runs the ball, he exposes himself to more hits and increases the injury risk. Ravens officials insisted this offseason that the concerns about Jackson getting hurt are "overrated." Jackson didn't miss a start in eight starts (including playoffs) after taking over for Flacco, but he left two games because of injury scares.

Given what happened last year, there's a good chance that the Ravens will need their backup quarterback at some point in the season. So, bringing back Griffin shows how much faith Baltimore has in him.

The Ravens were interested enough in Griffin last year, when they signed him after he was out of the NFL for an entire season. After he made a positive impact on the field and in the locker room last summer, Baltimore wanted to keep Griffin on the team so badly that it carried three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster for the first time since 2009.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh praised Griffin for playing at a starter's level in the preseason. Owner Steve Bisciotti called Griffin when he survived the final major cutdown, which is impressive considering he was behind Jackson and Flacco on the depth chart.

It still wasn't until Thursday that the Ravens truly revealed the extent of their trust in Griffin. Baltimore is saying that it's committed to giving the keys of a defending division champion to Griffin if Jackson misses a series, a game or a month.

Griffin has one of the most impressive pedigrees of any Ravens backup quarterback. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, a Heisman Trophy winner and former Pro Bowl player. But Griffin hasn't made a start since the 2016 regular season finale. He has thrown six passes over the past two regular seasons.

Still, the return of Griffin was considered the surest bet of all the Ravens' offseason moves. Outside of the possibility of signing Taylor (who landed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Los Angeles Chargers), there weren't any other options that appeared to be a good fit. The other top backups signed this offseason are: Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, AJ McCarron, Trevor Siemian and Kevin Hogan.

With Griffin, the Ravens can run the same offense, whether Jackson is starting or if he gets hurt. Griffin is also mentor for Jackson, who has offered advice over lunch because he went through the same pressure and challenges six years ago.

The Ravens will add another quarterback because Jackson and Griffin are the only ones currently on the roster. Baltimore could take a developmental quarterback later in the draft, which won't have any effect on Griffin's standing on the team.

The re-signing of Griffin will get overlooked because it was expected. But if Jackson gets sidelined, this could prove to be the most critical move of the offseason.