Falcons: Terry Fontenot and Raheem Morris explain Michael Penix pick

NFL: JAN 23 NFC Divisional Round Rams at Buccaneers

In what may have been the most stunning Falcons draft selection of my lifetime, and that’s saying something, the Falcons decided to take Michael Penix Jr. out of Washington not two months after signing Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract.

Before Cousins had even taken a snap for the team, the Falcons have already drafted his successor with their first round pick, a move that reportedly shocked the former Minnesota Vikings quarterback, who is surely already regretting his decision to come to Atlanta.

For an organization that likes to talk about themselves like a family, they sure haven’t figured out how to do right by their quarterbacks. A few years ago, they left Matt Ryan, the best quarterback in franchise history, out on an island in a failed attempt to bring Deshaun Watson to Atlanta, and last night, they left their $180 million man in the dark and took his successor just over a month after signing him.

It’s a baffling and flawed process that perfectly describes the Falcons organization. They’re a mess, but soon after the first round concluded, Terry Fontenot and Raheem Morris took the podium to defend the selection. Most notably, saying that Kirk Cousins is still their starting quarterback and there won’t be any kind of competition. Drafting Penix is all about the future.

Because the Falcons gave Kirk Cousins $100 million in guarantees, they don’t really have a choice but to start him for at least the next two years. The earliest Penix can play with it financially making sense is 2026, and even then they’ll have to eat some dead money by moving on from Cousins in year three.

The second part of that tweet from Raheem Morris is spin zone gold. We think so highly of Kirk Cousins, who we just signed to a four-year contract, that we know we won’t be in this position again. So, of course, instead of trying to make the team better and win a Super Bowl, we decided to take a succession plan with the 8th overall pick. Absolutely incredible stuff; the Falcons definitely have the right decision makers in place, and everyone should feel confident about the direction of the organization.

It’s already begun, but there will be a lot of talk moving forward about the Falcons and comparing their situation to the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay has gone from Favre to Rodgers to Love without missing a beat as they’ve consistently invested in the quarterback position once their star quarterbacks reached the tail end of their careers.

The situations, however, couldn’t be more different. The Packers were already Super Bowl contenders when they drafted Rodgers and Love. The Falcons, on the other hand, haven’t made the playoffs in six years. Secondly, Rodgers was drafted 26th overall, and Love was taken 24th. Penix was taken 8th, the fourth top ten pick in a row by Atlanta. It’s simply not comparable, even if it works.

I’m not sure there is a Falcons fan out there that is being honest with themselves that isn’t sitting here on Friday confused. My face hasn’t changed since the pick was announced 12 hours ago, looking like I just saw a ghost or a deer in the headlights. Every time it feels like this organization might finally be moving in the right direction, they piss down their leg.

Photo: Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire

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