The Falcons are at an impasse with their current quarterback situation. Taylor Heinicke is what he is at this point, but Desmond Ridder doesn’t provide immediate improvement. Arthur Smith is stuck between a rock and a hard place, but he must lay in the bed he made.
Atlanta’s head coach says he wants to do what’s best for the team in the present, which would be the veteran. But does that mean he’s giving up on the third-round project? Ridder probably has a higher ceiling than his counterpart. The only question is how long will it take him to realize that potential.
Regardless of how the rest of the season plays out, the Falcons have to be in the market for a quarterback. Desmond Ridder would have to get the starting job after the bye week and look like a completely different player for Atlanta to even consider not pouring significant resources into the position in the offseason.
The roster is at a point where inserting a talented signal caller would propel this team to legitimate contender status. I highly doubt Ridder can develop quickly enough to where we are talking about the Falcons as contenders in 2024. Moreover, even then, the Falcons shouldn’t be satisfied with a ‘just good enough’ quarterback.
The goal should be to find a difference-maker, someone who can cover up the flaws of his supporting cast and/or his play caller. Complacency at quarterback is just another form of purgatory.
Unfortunately, the Falcons won’t be in an ideal position this offseason to acquire one. That doesn’t mean it will be impossible, though. The Falcons have all of their draft capital to mortgage for one of the top prospects in the draft or a currently rostered quarterback. Caleb Williams and Drake Maye should be the goal.
If one of the top teams — Cardinals, Bears, Giants, Patriots, Rams, etc. — are mistakingly satisfied with their current quarterback, the Falcons should do everything in their power to move into a position to land one of Williams or Maye.
That’s unlikely. What’s more likely is the Falcons trade for one of the rostered quarterbacks on a team drafting one of Williams or Maye. Most eyes shift to Chicago and Justin Fields, who Atlanta initially passed over for Kyle Pitts. But what about Kyler Murray?
The Cardinals have a new regime in place with no ties to Murray and his massive contract. With a chance to get their own guy in the building, moving him this offseason is certainly on the table, and the Falcons are one of the betting favorites to land him if he doesn’t play in Arizona.
Where will Kyler Murray play next season if not Arizona?
odds via @betonline_ag
— Jaime Eisner (@JaimeEisner) November 8, 2023
Among the four most likely, in terms of odds, I see the Falcons as the only logical landing spot. The Patriots very well could be in a position to draft Maye or Williams if they continue on this downward trend. The Titans seemingly have something in Will Levis and won’t be in a position to draft one of those two quarterbacks. The Giants will be in a position to land Williams or Maye, but they still have a large chunk of Daniel Jones‘ contract on the books.
Scheme aside, the Falcons make the most sense in terms of cap space to acquire Murray’s contract, draft capital to trade, and the lack of proximity to one of the top prospects. I don’t know if Kyler Murray is Arthur Smith’s cup of tea, but he might be the most talented option available for the Falcons this offseason.