NFL executive not convinced of Falcons offseason

Kirk Cousins Falcons

The Falcons came into the offseason with one clear goal — figure out the quarterback position.

With Arthur Blank’s blessing, Terry Fontenot and Raheem Morris went out and gave Kirk Cousins the largest free agent contract of the offseason. One swift move, the Falcons went from one of the worst quarterback situations to one of the best.

Atlanta had its signal caller, but Fontenot wasn’t done. He went out and inked Darnell Mooney to a three-year deal, filling the roster’s second biggest need. The moves catapulted the Falcons to the top of Vegas’ odds to win the NFC South, and it’s easy to see why.

Arthur Smith’s club split the season series with the Buccaneers and Saints, despite getting much worse quarterback play from Desmond Ridder compared to Baker Mayfield and Derek Carr. Cousins isn’t head and shoulders better than Mayfield and Carr, but he is significantly better than Ridder. Not everyone is convinced, though. An anonymous NFL executive told Mike Sando of The Athletic that he’s not buying Atlanta’s offseason.

“I’d still go with Tampa right now,” one exec told Sando. “I know the optics look good for Atlanta, but you have a new head coach, there will be a learning curve that comes along with that. The quarterback’s ability to get in the flow coming off an Achilles injury, we’ll see how that goes. It’s a calculated risk, but a risk nonetheless.”

There’s certainly some risk in it for the Falcons. Cousins is aging, coming off an Achilles injury, and hasn’t had the postseason success that some would like to see from a $180 million quarterback.

However, it’s all about perspective, as another exec told Sando. The Falcons, unlike the Vikings, were desperate for improved quarterback play, regardless of the price.

“Internally, when you are Minnesota and have a guy that is winning you games but not winning you Super Bowls, you want to get better,” the other exec said. “Externally, when you have been with a team like Atlanta that has not tasted the playoffs in so long, you go, ‘F—, if I had a guy like that!’ You think any coach in Atlanta is sitting there saying, ‘This guy is not going to help us’? They could not pass the ball last year.”

Sando asked the most important question in all of this, “Can Cousins bridge the gap between the Falcons’ winning percentage over the past six seasons (.394) and the Vikings’ win rate with Cousins (.574)?”

The Falcons haven’t made the postseason since 2017, haven’t hosted a playoff contest in Atlanta since 2016, and are starving for some semblance of success. Kirk Cousins was the best option on the market. Past that is up for debate.

Photographer: Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

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