When the Falcons signed A.J. McCarron, Terry Fontenot indicated the team would continue to seek upgrades at quarterback. He likely didn’t imagine it would be because McCarron got hurt in a preseason game, but that’s exactly where we are.
McCarron has done little as a backup in the NFL to this point, but the Falcons clearly liked what he has managed in those limited stints and brought his experience to Atlanta as a free agent after the first day of the NFL Draft. The only other real addition to the roster they made was undrafted free agent Feleipe Franks, who has shown us both his arm talent and scrambling ability while also getting sacked, missing open receivers and tossing a pick against the Dolphins, indicating he’s ready to develop but not ready to push anyone to be Matt Ryan’s backup just yet. McCarron, who was having a solid if unspectacular game against the Dolphins, still figured to have a hold on that job until he suffered what certainly seems like a serious injury.
On FOX, Arthur Smith said "I'm sick to my stomach" about A.J. McCarron.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) August 22, 2021
So that sounds....not good.
Yes, I think the Falcons will have to sign a quarterback. https://t.co/mpXkT6tbGK— Scott Bair (@ScottBairNFL) August 22, 2021
Matt Ryan has been one of the most durable quarterbacks in the NFL, so the hope is that whoever backs him up doesn’t have to play at all. Losing McCarron is a blow the Falcons are going to feel—again, they went out of their way to sign him and give him starts in preseason—and there just isn’t a whole lot out there at the position if they are going to go out and sign someone. We’ll take a look at options a little later this morning.
If McCarron’s injury is significant, the Falcons probably have to scoop up someone just to be able to play four quarters against the Browns with Matt Ryan likely to only get a short stint and being one Feleipe Franks injury away from starting a receiver at quarterback, but whoever they sign might not be their ultimate backup option with every team cutting down to 53 players. It’s yet another unfortunate uncertainty for a team that has too many question marks on its depth chart heading into the 2021 season, so we’ll have to hope that McCarron is healthier than we suspect or someone the Falcons genuinely like shake loose in the coming week or so. As is always the case, either way, they’ll need a healthy and effective Ryan to do anything of note this year.