The Falcons have had a QB dilemma on their hands for each of the last three offseasons, which is a primary reason why fans are upset with the current regime, who have only invested a third-round pick in the position since taking over.
In the minds of many, that’s a fireable offense. However, it must be considered that the Falcons have been rebuilding the roster since taking over. There was no dire need to go all in on a quarterback they weren’t confident in while the roster had numerous other holes. With that being said, they’ve run out of time. If Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith are retained, they’ll be forced to go after a quarterback in some capacity this offseason, and it needs to hit, or they could be filling out job applications this time next year.
The draft is the most attractive avenue. Numerous blue chip quarterbacks are coming out this year, and the Falcons have all of their draft capital to move up the board and make a substantial splash. Having a signal caller on a rookie contract is a cheat code in this league and would allow the Falcons to continue to improve the rest of the roster which is already good enough to compete.
But if the Falcons aren’t in love with a quarterback like Jayden Daniels and don’t want to give up the draft capital necessary to move up and select them, a trade is also a legitimate possibility. Of the potential candidates available, nobody has been talked about more than Justin Fields, who seems to be on his way out of Chicago.
The fit is obvious. Fields is oozing with upside and has shown some improvements over the last few years. His mobile play style also seems to fit what Arthur Smith covets in his quarterback, and he’s from Atlanta. Coming back home to resurrect his career would be something straight out of Hollywood, but there are concerns.
Most importantly, the Falcons would have to part ways with draft picks to acquire Fields. Depending on the interest around the league, that could be an issue. Then, they would really only have one year to decide if they want to hand him an extension. It would be a colossal misstep if the Falcons jumped the gun on Justin Fields, handed him a lucrative deal, and then he didn’t turn out to be the guy. Think Daniel Jones in New York. That’s the kind of contract that can sink a franchise.
Depending on the Bears asking price, Justin Fields could be the Falcons most attractive option, however. Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac recently predicted the quarterback situations for every NFL team in 2024, and he has the Falcons trading away a couple of premium picks for Fields.
Young QB of the future Desmond Ridder was benched multiple times in favor of Taylor Heinicke, who completed less than 60% of his passes with a rating somewhere in the 80’s. It’s a bleak outlook for an otherwise fairly talented roster, begging for an expensive quick fix this March.
Ridder’s contract contains 2 years, $2.5M remaining – but none of it is guaranteed ($922,458 of savings to trade or release him early on next March). Heinicke has a $1.32M roster bonus due March 17th, but a release before that can open up $7M of cap space.
ATLANTA ACQUIRES JUSTIN FIELDS FROM THE CHICAGO BEARS IN EXCHANGE FOR A 2024 2ND ROUND PICK, AND A 2025 2ND ROUND PICK THAT CAN CONVEY TO A 1ST BASED ON PRODUCTION & PLAYING TIME.
I would be more than okay with the Falcons trading for Justin Fields if they couldn’t land one of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels in the draft. He’s exciting with upside, and if it doesn’t work, they can cut ties and dive back into the quarterback pool in a couple of years.
With that being said, this asking price — a second-round pick and a conditional second-round pick that could become a first-round pick — is far too high, and in my opinion, unrealistic. Fields is going to need a new deal soon and hasn’t had enough success to warrant that kind of package. He’s probably worth a second-round pick, but not much more than that. If the bidding gets this high, the Falcons shouldn’t be interested. However, I don’t think it will.
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