Earlier today, we looked at the quarterback position in 2018 for these Falcons. Matt Ryan had one of the very finest seasons of his career in a 7-9 season, which is a very Falcons thing to do, and he’ll be back and looking to continue his sustained assault on the record books in 2019. Beyond that, though, the quarterback position for Atlanta is extremely unsettled.
Matt Schaub’s contract is up after two years with the vetearn providing lots of gooey veteran leadership and very little on-the-field play (thankfully), though the team has said they’ll have some level of interest in bringing him back. Kurt Benkert was a rookie with some extremely up-and-down preseason performances, but he’s got a live arm and mobility and just signed a reserve/future contract so the team can take another look at him in 2019. If Schaub comes back on a deal light on guarantees and has to fight off Benkert, the Falcons will have some semblance of competition for the gig. No one will be surprised if they do just that, and my hope in that scenario is that Benkert will win and prove to be a long-term option for Atlanta.
What other scenarios might we be looking at, though?
This is actually a decent crop of backup quarterbacks. Teddy Bridgewater and Nick Foles are going to cash in, potentially as starters, and Tyrod Taylor should be priced out of Atlanta’s range by teams that could use someone to compete with an incumbent as well.
That still leaves Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played for $3.3 million this year and outplayed Jameis Winston at times in Tampa Bay. Fitzmagic is getting old and wouldn’t be someone I’d want to commit to for more than a year, but if the Falcons are at all considering a backup who could play at a reasonably high level in case of injury, he’s probably the list beyond the three names above. I’d be surprised if the Falcons considered him, mind you, but if they’re pushing chips to the center of the table in what could be Dan Quinn’s swan song, maybe they ought to.
Beyond that, you’re talking about has-beens capable of winning a game or two (Josh McCown), guys you shouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole (Brock Osweiler), and the dregs. The only other name to briefly spotlight here is Trevor Siemian, the former Broncos backup who was rumored to be a trade target for the Falcons this past offseason and could interest the Falcons when he hits free agency. He’ll be reasonably young (28), has a 13-11 record as a starter with a 30/24 TD/INT ratio and didn’t look any worse in Denver’s constantly shaky offense than Case Keenum just did. File the name away.
It’s generally agreed that this is not a great draft for quarterbacks, with a guy from Duke (Daniel Jones) potentially going in the first round. The Falcons could dig deep and dig late for a shot at a developmental guy they think could step in this year, but with Benkert in the fold I really do think that’s an unlikely development.
The preferred outcome
The Falcons ink Ryan Fitzpatrick for one year, giving them a veteran backup who can actually step in and play the position if the unthinkable happens, and somehow saving them money over Matt Schaub in the process. Benkert competes and if he doesn’t win, remains on the practice squad for another year marinating and gets his real shot at the backup gig in 2020.
The likely outcome
The Falcons either bring back Schaub or sign Trevor Siemian for a year to give them a backup of some shape and form, while Benkert competes and, if he doesn’t win, marinates on the practice squad and gets his real shot at the backup gig in 2020. Go Benkert, if this comes to pass.