As Jake wrote earlier today, the Falcons now hold the keys to the draft. Following the Jets’ decision to move on from Sam Darnold yesterday, trading him to the Panthers, it’s a certainty that quarterbacks will be taken with the first three picks. That still leaves a couple of high-quality QBs for the Falcons to choose from if they want to select Matt Ryan‘s heir apparent, but according to Chris Mortenson, Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith have differing opinions on the path they should take come draft night.
Fontenot wants to pick a quarterback, which is common for a first-year general manager. He would like to leave his mark and believes it’s time for the organization to start looking towards the future. Meanwhile, Smith believes Matt Ryan still has a few good years left and can lead the Falcons back to the playoffs. This from The Falcoholic:
What I’m hearing is that [Terry] Fontenot is more focused on quarterback, and Arthur Smith believes that Matt Ryan does have two or more years left. He has no real medical history, he hasn’t missed many games in his career and there hasn’t been a big drop off in his play.
Mortenson also noted that if the Falcons decide to go quarterback, Trey Lance is “probably the guy.”
This kind of conflict between the general manager and the head coach is far from discouraging. When Fontenot and Smith were hired, they both said that they didn’t want to bring in a bunch of ‘yes men.’ They want people inside the organization to come up with their own conclusions and share their perspectives to evaluate all of their options properly.
There is also the possibility that this could be more smoke released by the front office. As Jake also discussed today, it is critical for the Falcons not to show their hand leading up to the draft. Even if they don’t want to draft a quarterback, they need the rest of the league to believe they do to garner the maximum return in a potential trade-back scenario.
As far as the prospect of Lance being the next quarterback in Atlanta, I’m all on board. He might be the most physically gifted quarterback in the draft, but he could definitely benefit from sitting behind Matt Ryan for a year or two before taking over the reins. The Falcons could be patient with Lance, and when they finally deemed him ready to become the starter, they could find a new home for Matt Ryan, preferably one where he could make one final run at the Super Bowl that would be the cherry on top of a Hall of Fame career.