HomeFootball DirtTerry Fontenot, GM of the Falcons, Speaks on Quarterback Search

Terry Fontenot, GM of the Falcons, Speaks on Quarterback Search

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The Falcons are among the teams to watch on the quarterback market this offseason, either through the acquisition of a veteran passer or a rookie via the draft. A firm course of action has yet to be determined, but the organization has a move of some kind high on the to-do list.

Atlanta has 2022 third-rounder Desmond Ridder on his rookie contract for two more seasons. The team brought in veteran Taylor Heinicke last offseason on a two-year, $14MM deal to provide insurance, but neither signal-caller lived up to expectations in 2023. The latter can be released in a move yielding nearly $7MM in cap savings and only $2MM in dead cap charges. Regardless of if that happens, though, the Falcons will need to find a starting-caliber option this spring.

“That’s a top priority for us this offseason,” general manager Terry Fontenot confirmed during an appearance on NFL Network’s NFL Report (video link). “We are not going to close any doors. Be it trades, free agency [or] the draft. We’ll make sure we keep an open mind there. We’ll attack it and make sure that we get it right.”

At this point on the NFL calendar, team executives would generally be expected to keep their options as open as possible when making public remarks. Still, it is notable the Falcons are not leaving any avenue off the table with respect to adding a passer. Aside from Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield, few quarterbacks are set to hit the open market who could be worth a lucrative, multi-year investment.

On the trade front, Atlanta has been named as a team which could be a landing spot for Bears QB Justin Fields. Chicago has yet to commit to retaining or dealing Fields, but the latter option would present the Falcons (and other interested teams) with a young passer who could be under team control through at least 2025 via the fifth-year option. Set to pick eighth overall, Atlanta will be out of the range of the top QB draft prospects barring a trade up, but the team will still have options to consider in April.

For the time being, the Falcons have roughly $25MM in cap space. That figure will change during the course of cost-cutting season, but finances should be less of an issue for Atlanta than other QB-needy teams around the league given the inexpensive nature of the incumbent passers. Other roster holes such as receiver and edge rusher will need to be addressed this offseason, but an addition under center remains front of mind for Fontenot and Co. with roughly one month remaining until the new league year.

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