Unfortunately, it looks like AJ McCarron’s time with the Falcons may be over, as it is suspected that he suffered a torn ACL against the Dolphins on Saturday. Feleipe Franks has showed promise at times, but it’s clear he’s not ready to be an NFL quarterback just yet. I have said from the beginning that the Falcons did not do enough to shore up the backup quarterback situation, and it’s even more pressing now with even less options available. Some guys may become available after cuts, but the Falcons need a body right now. If Matt Ryan goes down, the season is probably over anyways. There aren’t many guys left, but I’ll break down a few I think the Falcons could consider:
Originally, I thought Josh Rosen never really got a fair shake in Arizona, and you could still make that argument. However, he has had a handful of stops since then, and he never made a realistic push to seize a starting role. Part of that may be his own fault, but as a young backup, this may be the best the Falcons could do. His numbers are not pretty, over 20 career games (16 starts), he has 2845 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions. 142 yards per game isn’t going to cut it in the NFL. However, he’s still only 24 and has actually played a decent amount of NFL snaps. He seems like a likely candidate at this point.
Minshew-Mania took over the NFL for a short period in 2019, leading a pretty terrible Jaguars team to a 6-6 record as a starter. Minshew made some exciting plays and limited turnovers, but he took a step back in 2020, and Jacksonville now has Trevor Lawrence. The Jags would probably like to keep Minshew as an insurance policy, but I think he’d be a perfect trade target.
If you watched the preseason game against the Titans, Arthur Smith’s old project quarterback tore up the Atlanta secondary. He’s not a free agent, but maybe the Falcons would trade a day three draft pick for his services. Woodside went 10/15 with 84 yards and a score against Atlanta. He’s fairly mobile, and definitely wouldn’t be the worst option for the right price if Tennessee was looking to part ways with him. He’s familiar with Smith and would be a stopgap right away.
He’s not the electric playmaker he once was, but RGIII can still move around the pocket and make some plays with his feet. I actually had RGIII on my short list of backup quarterbacks a few months ago, and he’s still available. Right now he’s working as a college football analyst, but I bet he’d be willing to suit up if the NFL came calling.
Not many guys on this list were as close to a Super Bowl as Blake Bortles was (we’ll get to that in a second), and I think he could make for a decent reserve at this point in his career. Like a lot of the guys on this list, Bortles is fairly mobile and could fit into Arthur Smith’s scheme fairly well. I wouldn’t be mad about bringing The BOAT to Atlanta.
Benkert isn’t a free agent yet, but I talked in depth about bringing him back here.
The Bears have Justin Fields and Andy Dalton in the fold, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they looked to unload Nick Foles and his contract. Foles led an incredible comeback against the Falcons last season (which we won’t talk about), and he serves best as a backup that’s forced into action at a moment’s notice. He won a Super Bowl doing just that. His contract is pretty ugly for a Falcons team that doesn’t have much money to play with, so this could be a tricky deal. Still, Foles is likely the best option available if the Falcons can make the money work.