As it stands, the Falcons are very limited on funds. Atlanta experimented with AJ McCarron, Josh Rosen, Matt Barkley, and Feleipe Franks in 2021, and none of them looked like competent backups going forward. Reports have surfaced that the Falcons are committed to Matt Ryan for 2022, but Arthur Smith is on record saying no decision has been made just yet. Regardless, I’m going to break down some backup quarterback options for the Falcons, and most of them will have starter upside. I’ll be going through each positional group and doing a final big board towards the beginning of free agency.
7. Brandon Allen — Cincinnati Bengals
Allen was a pretty decent player at Arkansas, but he hasn’t gotten much burn in the NFL. He’s your prototypical backup — a guy who has only appeared in 14 career games and has 1,589 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions to his name. He would be a cheap option to keep a roster spot held down.
6. Kurt Benkert — Green Bay Packers
I’ve been pretty adamant about bringing Benkert back. The former Falcon UDFA is a mobile threat who has now spent some time with Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers. We’ve seen Benkert show some flashes in the preseason; he is familiar with some of this roster, and he seems to be well-liked by his teammates. This feels like a pretty safe pickup at a decent price to me.
5. Blaine Gabbert — Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gabbert has a connection to Arthur Smith from his time in Tennessee, and he has spent the past few years holding the clipboard for Tom Brady. When you talk about fit, there may not be a better name on this list. I expected the Falcons to go for Gabbert last offseason. Instead, the Falcons got Feleipe Franks — who I noted had a very similar prospect profile coming out of college. If the Falcons want to add a veteran, Gabbert makes a ton of sense.
4. Mike White — New York Jets
Hey, you guys remember Mike White? That was pretty cool. White had a crazy stretch in 2021, topped by a 405 yard effort in a win over the Bengals. White’s still only 26, and while he’s far from the face of a franchise, he’s an interesting and fun project.
3. Jameis Winston — New Orleans Saints
I’m not as down on Jameis Winston as most people are. Winston has shown a lot of maturity since coming into the league, and he was having a good year with the Saints before injury. You can’t deny his arm talent, and he seems to be well-liked by teammates. Winston makes a lot of sense, especially if the Falcons move on from Matt Ryan.
2. Tyrod Taylor — Houston Texans
Mr. Good Luck Chuck himself, Tyrod Taylor seems to be the perfect guy to sign if you have a young quarterback. Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Justin Herbert, and even Davis Mills all flourished after replacing Taylor, but jokes aside, he’s a consummate professional that can make plays with his legs. I still think he’s a starter in this league, but if the Falcons want a stopgap in case of a Matt Ryan trade, Taylor is the perfect choice.
1. Mitch Trubisky — Buffalo Bills
I got torched for this take a year ago, but Trubisky makes a ton of sense for the Falcons as a backup or potential stopgap starter. The Bears did Trubisky no favors during his time, but there is still a few things he does well, like improvising out of the pocket. Trubisky looked really good in limited action for the Bills, and I think he could still be a competent starter or backup in the right system. Whether Matt Ryan is traded or not, giving him a one-year, $3.5 million deal could work out well for both parties.