8 worst free-agent signings under Atlanta Falcons GM Terry Fontenot

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4. Marcus Mariota

This leads us into the next move that deserves a lot of criticism though not entirely in the direction of Terry Fontenot. From the outside looking in it appears that Arthur Smith never put his arms around Matt Ryan and owner Arthur Blank responded by an ill-advised attempt to land Deshaun Watson.

This decision seems almost entirely on the owner with Blank chasing someone he had a personal relationship with and had ties to the Falcons. Thankfully for Atlanta, this fizzled out and the team was left paying the price of a season of Marcus Mariota.

In retrospect, there were so many better options in the draft, free agency, and the trade market. Atlanta wouldn't have had to do much to improve the position. Marcus Mariota was a huge mistake and one that arguably is no fault of Fontenot. Mariota's lone season with the Falcons ended with the veteran getting benched and leaving the team when that happened. This didn't sit well with many Atlanta Falcons fans after the team had kept Mariota in the starting lineup as long as they did. Regardless of who was at fault, this was without question a bad decision.