The Atlanta Falcons are confronting a pretty simple reality at quarterback at the moment: Matt Schaub is old (he’ll be 37 in June), expensive (he has a $4.5 million cap hit for 2018), and doesn’t offer enough outside of familiarity with the offense and a locker room presence to justify his presence on the roster. The Falcons may well carry him for another year because of his value as a veteran quarterback guru, but once his contract’s up after 2018, they’re unlikely in the extreme to bring him back.
That means one way or another, you need to look toward the future. The Falcons, by quietly working out several late round/UDFA quarterbacks, have done just that to this point. They’re doing so again with Tanner Lee, a quarterback who has an outside chance of being drafted late.
With 36-year old Matt Schaub behind Matt Ryan, could the #Falcons be in the market for a backup QB? #Nebraska QB prospect Tanner Lee is on a Top 30 visit to Atlanta today, source said.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 9, 2018
Lee is an interesting quarterback prospect. He checks all the boxes when you watch him drop back to throw, from his NFL size to his quick release to the strength of his arm, which means some team is going to fall in love with his potential. The problem is that as his 46:37 college touchdown to interception ratio suggests, things start to go awry even before the ball gets in the air, as Lee doesn’t throw with a great sense of timing or anticipation, and he even misses wide open receivers.
The addition of Lee would allow the Falcons to carry three quarterbacks on the roster or try to sneak him through on the practice squad for a year while new QB coach Greg Knapp worked with him on footwork, timing, and instincts in the hopes that Lee could become a useful NFL backup in a year or two. He’s not the kind of player that seems very likely to knock Schaub off the roster this year, however, meaning the Falcons would likely draft him (or pick him up after the draft) with an eye on 2019 and beyond.
So unless the Falcons have a bigger name up their sleeve, look for them to add a third quarterback to groom while Schaub holds the clipboard for one more season. At least they’re looking ahead.