ESPN analyst compares Falcons QB targets J.J. MCarthy and Kirk Cousins


The entire offseason is going to surround the Falcons’ search for a quarterback.

Obviously, there are other things that must be addressed like Kyle Pitts’ fifth-year option, A.J. Terrell’s extension, and the other roster needs, but Atlanta’s hopes in 2024 hinge on getting the quarterback situation figured out.

The only problem is there isn’t an obvious answer to the Falcons’ problems. Arthur Blank didn’t fire Arthur Smith to rebuild. The organization’s owner expects to compete in 2024, regardless of what the new regime does at the position.

However, there’s clearly a desire to find the long-term answer as well as competing this season. The next franchise quarterback can’t just be a two-year answer; that’s now how it works.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, if you’re asking me, double dipping in the quarterback seems to satisfy both the short-term and long-term needs while being the most realistic. Obviously, drafting Drake Maye would be ideal, but let’s try to be even a little pragmatic.

To accomplish both, the Falcons may have to bite the bullet and draft a quarterback while also signing a veteran in free agency. Ironically, the pair that make the most sense share similar skill sets.

ESPN’s Matt Miller reported back at the beginning of the 2023 campaign that a scout from an AFC team described J.J. McCarthy as “a better moving Kirk Cousins.”

“McCarthy carves up defenses with touch and timing, and he did so Saturday with 22-of-25 passing for 278 yards, two touchdowns and an QBR of 96.1,” Miller wrote in September. “He stacks up as a late first-rounder on my board and is climbing in the race for QB3 behind Caleb Williams and Drake Maye.”

Despite Kirk Cousins falling short in the playoffs, he has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in seven of his last eight healthy years and is the most attractive target for a Falcons team that wants to compete right now.

On the flip side of things, McCarthy could learn from a veteran that he can emulate. The Falcons would then be able to compete for a postseason spot immediately while still investing in the future.

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

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