2. Marcus Mariota $2.5 million dead cap hit
Atlanta couldn’t bring back Mariota as either a starter or backup considering his level of play and how his time with the franchise ended. Stepping away after being benched is completely understandable, however, it will also come at a price with Mariota failing to be there to support Desmond Ridder.
Mariota’s time with Atlanta will be remembered for missed opportunities and what could have been for a team that was given every chance to win the NFC South. Mariota is likely looking for a backup job or could consider changing leagues if the veteran prefers to start.
Atlanta is in far better hands with either Desmond Ridder or almost any other starting option either in free agency or a potential trade. Mariota’s only value at this point in his career is the ability to create with his legs. As a passer the veteran somehow regressed unable to make basic throws or get on the same page as Kyle Pitts. Atlanta clearly jumped off of Matt Ryan at the right time, however, it is hard to remember that after watching Marcus Mariota as a starter for much of the 2022 season.