This has been a wild offseason in the NFL overall, but especially for the Atlanta Falcons. Calvin Ridley was suspended, Matt Ryan was traded, and the Falcons came up short in their ill-fated pursuit of Deshaun Watson. Regardless of your opinion on the Watson matter, we can all agree the team was looking towards the future and they swung at trying to land a top-10 quarterback. They failed, but it appears another top-10 quarterback may soon hit the market.
On Thursday, NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero reported that the Cardinals had yet to make a contract offer to quarterback Kyler Murray, who apparently refuses to play in Arizona unless his contract is addressed. Pelissero also mentions that teams are monitoring the situation, although the Cardinals insist Murray won’t be traded, the same way they insisted that Josh Rosen was “their guy” prior to drafting Murray in 2019.
With rumors now swirling, the Falcons have come up as a possible destination in the event that Murray is traded. Mike Florio of ProFootballNetwork says that the most obvious candidates for Murray would be the same teams that heavily pursued Watson a few weeks ago: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Falcons. He also lists the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans are other possible destinations.
This is logical when you consider the Panthers, Saints, and Falcons were all in on Watson, and presumably the opportunity to land a top young quarterback in a conference where the only sure bet at quarterback is 45 years old will be enticing. It wouldn’t be surprising if Murray lands in the NFC South if the Cardinals give up on extending him.
In two of his three seasons so far, Murray has been selected to the Pro Bowl and has recorded 90 total touchdowns. Pro Football Focus thought enough of Murray in 2021 to give him their third highest passer grade of a 88.1, only behind Joe Burrow and Tom Brady. Additionally, his completion percentage of 69.2 was the second-best in the NFL last season.
At the end of the day, will Murray end up in Atlanta? Probably not. But at the same time, they have shown that unlike past regimes, they’re willing to swing for the fences to get a star veteran, especially at the quarterback position. And hey, if nothing else, tight end Kyle Pitts’ only professional touchdown on U.S. soil came from Murray in the Pro Bowl in Las Vegas.