Marcus Mariota spent the first thirteen games as the Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback attempting to re-establish himself in this league. Mariota’s time as a starter served as a reminder as to why the Titans benched the veteran quarterback and the issues he creates in a team’s passing game.
After being benched Mariota went on IR with a knee injury and decided to step away from the team. This decision was completely fair considering that being benched coincided with the birth of Mariota’s child. Taking time away from a team that was for all intents and purposes eliminated from the playoffs and had benched him in favor of his family completely made sense.
While Mariota stepping away from the team was the right move for the veteran it does provide even more clarity for the next move the Falcons have to make. Cutting Marcus Mariota saves around $12-million in cap space this off-season for the Atlanta Falcons.
With Desmond Ridder locked up on a rookie deal and a number of quarterback options on the trade market or in the draft and free agency there is zero reasons to bring Mariota back. Cutting him allows the Falcons to make at least one more impact addition this off-season and provides an open slot either for a starting quarterback or competition for Ridder.
Desmond Ridder hasn’t shown enough to be handed the starting job this off-season but keeping Mariota solves nothing. Atlanta clearly knows Mariota isn’t a starter in this league and hasn’t been an asset to Ridder as he has taken over the starting job. Both Mariota and the Falcons know what move has to come next. Keeping him on the roster cannot be an option for Atlanta as a team that should be in the quarterback market looking to land a star or bring in competition for Ridder.