Falcons alternate reality with Arthur Smith points to Ryan Tannehill at QB

NFL: DEC 18 Titans at Chargers

With about a month left in the regular season, the Falcons were at a crossroads with Arthur Smith as Arthur Blank mulled over his head coach’s future.

Eventually, a late season collapse, which featured losses to the 1-12 Panthers and a blowout loss to the Saints in the finale, resulted in Smith being relieved of his duties.

While Smith’s job was in question over the final weeks of the season, Desmond Ridder‘s was very obviously not. There was no question the Falcons wouldn’t be rolling with the third-round pick in 2024, with or without Arthur Smith.

Now that Raheem Morris has been hired and Zac Robinson will coordinate the offense, the club will begin the search for Ridder’s replacement. During the time fans were arguing about the future of Arthur Smith, the options for the Falcons at the quarterback position seemed robust.

With a few games left to play in the regular season, it seemed possible the Falcons would be able to trade up for one of Jayden Daniels, Caleb Williams, or Drake Maye if a club like the Cardinals or Chargers with an established started owned one of the first three selections.

That is no longer the case. Though recent reports suggest the Patriots may trade out of their No. 3 pick, I expect the Falcons to miss out on the top three prospects.

That leaves the Falcons with few options. Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield could very well re-sign with their respective teams, leaving the free agent market barren of viable options. A Justin Fields trade will continue to be linked to the Falcons, but there are downsides to that scenario as well.

How it ends up for Atlanta might not sit well with fans, who surely got their hopes up of finding a franchise quarterback in the draft, which is still possible as J.J. McCarthy’s stock continues to rise.

However, it could be worse. In an alternate reality where Arthur Smith was given one more season, the Falcons would be signing Ryan Tannehill. According to Ian Rapoport, the Steelers are expected to explore signing the veteran in free agency.

Pittsbrugh’s new offensive coordinator, Smith, and Tannehill’s best seasons came together in Tennessee as the Titans put together one of the most formidable offenses during the 2019 and 2020 campaigns.

The Falcons very well could be seeing what their future would’ve held had they not fired Arthur Smith, and I don’t think I have to tell you how disappointing it would’ve been had Tannehill signed with Atlanta.

Smith made a case to Arthur Blank that an upgrade at the position would unlock the Falcons offensive potential, and he’s probably correct. Tannehill would be an upgrade over what the club had in 2023, but Smith won’t get to prove it because he put his eggs in Desmond Ridder’s basket.

Photographer: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire


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