NFL insider weighs in on what Atlanta Falcons will do at QB: Lamar Jackson, Jimmy Garoppolo?

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The Falcons will be at the forefront of quarterback conversations until the team finds its next franchise quarterback. It could be Desmond Ridder, but he certainly hasn’t done enough to warrant that title.

There is a multitude of ways to go this offseason. With more than enough resources to grab any number of quarterbacks, the world is the Falcons’ oyster. Regardless of whether you think it’s the correct way to go about it, Atlanta has enough cap space and draft capital to trade up for one of Bryce Young or CJ Stroud, sign any free agent, or even acquire and extend Lamar Jackson if he were to become available.

ESPN’s NFL insider Jeremy Fowler weighed in on the possibilities, which includes Jimmy Garoppolo:

Fowler: As the Atlanta Falcons evaluate their options at quarterback, a few themes have emerged:

  • They liked Desmond Ridder‘s four-game stretch. His numbers were modest, with 708 yards and two touchdown passes to zero interceptions. But that last statistic is significant. He’s definitely an option to consider.
  • Lamar Jackson to the Falcons would be a great story, but someone with the team pointed out to me that Atlanta spent three years getting out of salary-cap purgatory and now sits on an estimated $56 million in space. Not that the Falcons couldn’t use that on a high-profile QB, but giving up multiple first-round picks for the right to spend $200-plus million isn’t something Atlanta will be overly eager to do unless absolutely needed.
  • One league personnel evaluator had a good suggested fit for Atlanta: Jimmy Garoppolo. A bridge starter with QB1 upside, Garoppolo would get shades of the Niners’ Kyle Shanahan offense with the Falcons, thanks to Arthur Smith’s lean on the run and play-action. And Garoppolo would come at a reasonable financial clip.

We’ve talked about Lamar Jackson ad nauseam. If he becomes available, one would think Atlanta would be interested. After all, the Falcons pursued Deshaun Watson, who came with a mountain of baggage. However, the reason he’s in Cleveland is because of the record-breaking, guaranteed money the Browns offered, which the Falcons didn’t. Jackson leaving Baltimore is over the same issue. Will Terry Fontenot, Arthur Smith, and Arthur Blank be more inclined to give Lamar that massive guarantee? I’m not sure.

Jimmy G in Atlanta seems far-fetched to me. I imagine he’d prioritize playing for a proven winner over anything else — something the Falcons are not. Still, I’ll put nothing past this regime; there’s no telling what they’ll do. If I had to put a wager on it, I believe they’ll sign a veteran to compete with Desmond Ridder that would have no issues backing up and mentoring the young signal caller. Jacoby Brissett, Taylor Heinicke, and Gardner Minshew are a few names to consider.

Photographer: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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