Atlanta Falcons 2021 offseason positional expectations: Quarterback

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 20: Devin White #45 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sacks Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter in the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 20: Devin White #45 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sacks Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter in the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Falcons 2021 offseason is gearing up to be one of the most unique and exciting in a long time.

Covid-19 has thrown a wrench into key evaluation opportunities for the Atlanta Falcons like the combine, pro days, and undoubtedly the draft itself. The next few months are going to look much different than we are used to, even compared to last year.

Remember, while it feels like a lifetime ago for a lot of us, the combine was one of the last major public gatherings to occur before the world began to shut down.

With that being said, a ton of new and exciting talent will be entering the league in a few short months and dozens of key free agents will be moving to new teams following virtual interviews and workouts.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll take a look at what I believe the Falcons will do. Starting at quarterback.

Current Roster:

Matt Ryan, Kurt Benkert

There has been a ton of speculation on what direction the Atlanta Falcons will be going with Matt Ryan, the franchise’s best QB.

One thought was a possible trade or cut to allow a new young player to take the reins. An expectation that was never truly an option with Ryan’s contract. According to Spotrac Matt Ryan would incur a dead cap of just under $50 million if cut immediately, a trade would save a little money dropping the dead cap to just over $44 million.

Even a post-June first move would bring a dead cap between $17 – $23 million this year and $26.5 million in 2022.

Those are massive numbers no matter how you slice it.

That expectation was further put to rest as Tom Pelissero of NFL Network broke the news that “Ryan isn’t going anywhere”, a sentiment Falcons owner Arthur Blank doubled down on.

Benkert was recently signed to a futures contract by the team ensuring that he would not be snatched up by anyone else. He has spent the last four years on the practice squad and has shown promise in limited preseason action.

While the new organization must evaluate everyone, moving on from a back up who is familiar with the organization and costs only $780K does not seem likely. Especially with the current cap situation

Free Agency:

I don’t see any major moves for the Falcons occurring in free agency, besides potentially bringing in a veteran camp body for an emergency situation/depth.


This is where the conversation gets genuinely interesting for the QB room of the Atlanta Falcons. With pick number four in hand, they are in a prime position to grab a top young talent.

Trevor Lawrence should already have his bags packed for Jacksonville. With the Jets at pick two and Dolphins at three, there is a chance that either BYU’s Zach Wilson or OSU’s Justin Fields will be on the board at pick four.

Both teams above ATL are in interesting situations, with young quarterbacks on the roster who have a lot left to prove. Both or neither of these teams could go quarterback and they are both also prime trade back candidates if QB needy teams who feel like they are closer to competing get aggressive, Washington Football Team, San Francisco, and Carolina to name a few.

NDSU’s Trey Lance is a good-looking prospect with a ton of interesting tools but incredibly inexperienced having only thrown the ball 318 times in his collegiate career.

All three of these players are viable options at pick four, perhaps a bit early for a guy like Lance but the upside is certainly appealing.

After the top four, the only other player getting first-round buzz is Alabama’s Mac Jones who helped his draft stock recently at the Senior Bowl. Ultimately positional value and the fifth-year option will make Mac a first-round pick.

After Jones, there is a ton of interesting talent to be had on days two and three, with varying tools and levels of development.

When it is all said and done, the Atlanta Falcons QB room will look like…

Whether it is at pick four, later in the first after a trade down or a later round any QB taken in this draft is going to sit behind Ryan for at least a year.

With a young front office and head coach in place, the desire to win now will drive the Falcons to take a year one impact player in the first round and when camp starts, the depth chart will read Ryan/Benkert come week one of the NFL season.

This is part one of nine discussing my off-season expectation of the Atlanta Falcons roster. Culminating in a 7 round mock draft finalizing my thoughts on where this team will go. Next up will be the running backs. 

Falcons are participating in Trevor Lawrence’s Pro Day. dark. Next