The Atlanta Falcons are unequivocally in a win-now situation. Like a sea captain looking at dark clouds on the horizon, fans know they are heading into rough seas with the salary cap getting tighter and core players aging. With the addition of pro-ready Calvin Ridley in round one of the draft, the team is ready to make a strong push for another Super Bowl berth.
The roster is absolutely stacked, but there’s one spot that sticks out like a sore thumb: 36-year-old backup quarterback Matt Schaub. Not only is the veteran taking up an absurd $4.5 million in cap space, but showed he was out of gas all the way back in 2013. He had an almost unnatural tendency of throwing pick-sixes. Schaub was brought in, in part, to help Matt Ryan pick up Kyle Shanahan’s notoriously difficult offense. It worked, but Shanahan is long gone.
Now we are one bad play away from having the season rest in Schaub’s interception-prone hands. This is an untenable situation without an ounce of potential upside. The Falcons passed on every quarterback in the draft, signing undrafted free agent Kurt Benkert, who does not look ready for the NFL. The Falcons need a better backup plan than really, really, really hoping nothing happens to their starting quarterback.
Yes, if you read the title, you know where this is going. Sign the most divisive player in the NFL, Colin Kaepernick.
I know what a lot of people are going to say, and think Kaepernick will be a headache for the team. There would be a 95% chance the president tweets about the signing, and it stays on top of CNN, ESPN, and Fox.
That’s definitely true. We have already seen some teams make the decision to avoid a headache.
The Indianapolis Colts knew at some point Andrew Luck was not going to be back in 2017. Instead of signing a proven quarterback with experience winning playoff games, they traded for young and unproven Jacoby Brissett. He did pretty well, but they only won four games.
The Miami Dolphins lost Ryan Tannehill before the season, and not wanting a headache, dragged Jay Cutler out of retirement. They won six games.
The Houston Texans lost starter Deshaun Watson, and incomprehensibly shuffled between Tom Savage and T.J. Yates. They won one game after Watson was injured. They went 1-7.
These teams acted like cowards, and the end result was atrocious football and frequent losses. These teams may have been happy to have a terrible season, knowing they have a younger core of players and their window is not closing. Atlanta can’t afford to burn away a season of prime Julio Jones and for-the-moment inexpensive defense to wimp out because a move might prove unpopular.
The Falcons used to be a soft team that was scared to win, and shied away from anything but the process. Dan Quinn has built a strong locker room, and I don’t see adding a player with no suspensions, arrests, or character concerns negatively impacting that. Distractions don’t last for long, and eventually this one will pass. It’s time to cut Schaub, and sign Kaepernick on a cheaper deal. Please don’t make fans have to watch Schaub start.