There is warranted excitement surrounding the Falcons heading into the offseason for the first time in years. They showed some progress during the 2022 campaign, and now they have a top 10 draft pick and plenty of cap space to work with. There are a number of areas that still need bolstering, but all eyes will be on what the Falcons decide to do at quarterback. Until the team figures out that position, they will never be able to compete with the elite teams in the NFL.
There are a few ways the Falcons could address their quarterback situation. Desmond Ridder showed some chops in his mini-audition to end the season, improving with each week. He didn’t do enough to secure the job for 2023, but he also did nothing to hurt his chances. It would make a lot of sense for the Falcons to see if he could be the next franchise quarterback over a full season, but internal pressure could force the Falcons to attempt to expedite the process.
There are two forms of pressure I want to discuss, one of which could have a substantial impact on what the Falcons do at quarterback this offseason. The lesser of the two is the pressure on the front office and coaching staff. Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith are now entering year three of their tenure. They’ve done an acceptable job thus far with what they’ve been given, but expectations will be higher next season. In a weak NFC South, the Falcons could be considered favorites, depending on how the rest of the division approaches the offseason. If the team takes a step back in 2023, both Fontenot and Smith’s seats could begin to heat up.
Job security of the coach and general manager must always be taken into consideration when projecting what a team might do during a particular offseason, but I don’t think either of their jobs is in jeopardy. This rebuild was always going to take time, and Arthur Blank understands that. However, Blank very well could feel pressure from the outside to make the Falcons a winner again, which might also force the team to go after a more proven quarterback.
Blank is one of the more hands-on owners in the league. There’s a reason why the Falcons were heavily considering Deshaun Watson last offseason. The Falcons have been a mess ever since the new Mercedes Benz Stadium has opened up. They have not ever been over .500 since 2017. Because of that, Blank’s billion dollar playpen feels more like church than a football game every Sunday. It’s often halfway filled, and the fans that do show up are usually cheering for the other team. It has become one of the worst home field advantages in all of sports, and a primary reason for that has been the product on the field.
There’s no way Blank shows up to the games every Sunday and is thrilled with the atmosphere surrounding the team. He wants to see a packed house with fans wearing red and black more than anything, and there are two ways to do that — create a consistent winner or add superstars.
There are several marquee signal callers that could be on the move this offseason, the most notable being Lamar Jackson, even if I find it highly doubtful that the Ravens will trade him. Jackson likely won’t make the Falcons contenders overnight, but he would put butts in seats for as long as he’s the quarterback in Atlanta. For that reason alone, the Falcons will probably make a run at him this offseason if he’s indeed made available by the Ravens.
But even if he isn’t, don’t be shocked to see Atlanta make a move for a different signal caller. Derek Carr and Ryan Tannehill are potential options on the trade market, and the Falcons could also decide to move up in the draft to snag a blue-chip prospect like Bryce Young or CJ Stroud. I’m not sure if it’s the best course of action long-term, but Blank will have a say in how the team proceeds this offseason, and there is some pressure on him to turn this franchise back into a winner sooner rather than later.
Photo: Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire
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