Earlier this offseason, we wrote about the team’s backup quarterback situation and our preferred plan for moving forward. In those pieces, we opined that the sun had set on the Matt Schaub era in Atlanta, and that despite his obvious value as a veteran presence, it was time for the Falcons to try to get a backup who could play at a higher level (and, probably, be cheaper) if push came to shove.
I was curious to see what Falcons fans felt about the backup quarterback value, so I ran a quick Twitter poll that collected about 3,600 votes. To my eternal surprise, it seems like a plurality of fans actually want Schaub back.
Who should be the Falcons backup QB in 2019?— The Falcoholic (@TheFalcoholic) January 13, 2019
In all, 35% of respondents went for Schaub, 26% for a draft pick (late rounders suggested), 25% for in-house option Kurt Benkert, and just 14% for another free agent, popular options including Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Fitzpatrick. That surprisingly robust showing for Schaub probably reflects a combination of the team indicating a level of interest in bringing him back, the glowing reports of Schaub’s influence on the team, and perhaps a lingering belief that Schaub is still a good quarterback despite a dearth of evidence in that regard. Given the state of backup quarterbacking across the NFL, maybe that’s fair.
I think the Falcons should lean toward Benkert or another, cheaper-than-Schaub veteran addition for 2019, with an eye on setting themselves up for a couple of years of cost-effective backup(s) with some upside. The team’s cap crunch in 2018 was not solely or even primarily due to the dollars assigned to Schaub, but it would have been awfully nice to have that $4-plus million last year to shore up positions ravaged by injury and weak performances, and I’d hate to see the Falcons tie up a lot of money again in a backup who could be worse than replacement level if push came to shove. Sorry, 35%.
Who would you add as a backup quarterback in 2019?