Atlanta Falcons front office didn't learn from the mistakes they made with Matt Ryan

Washington Commanders v Atlanta Falcons
Washington Commanders v Atlanta Falcons / Kara Durrette/GettyImages

The Atlanta Falcons front office made their first big misstep of the offseason not just in drafting Michael Penix Jr. but in how they handled the situation. A capable front office has a great idea of who their top-ten draft target will be in that year's class.

Especially with the top four picks being so clear this season the Falcons had to have long known they might take Penix Jr. Still, the team didn't give Kirk Cousins a warning that it might be a quarterback they would take within the top eight. Yes, the team called Cousins before the selection but to warn Cousins as the team is on the clock and already decided isn't a warning at all.

Kirk Cousins just signed a 4-year $180-million dollar deal and this move says the Falcons have no plans to follow through with the contract. The first two years are inescapable but starting in year three the team can move on if they swallow a large dead cap hit.

Even in this case, you have wasted two years of a rookie deal for an older prospect. A prospect that it is easy to make the argument is already the most pro-ready of this year's class. The issues that Kirk Cousins should have with this move are clear.

While this deserves to be delved into a bit further the point here is looking back and how Matt Ryan's time with the team came to an end. Arthur Smith, Terry Fontenot, and Arthur Blank opted to keep the status quo not giving their quarterback clear direction that they were looking to move on.

The team's ill-advised attempts to bring in Deshaun Watson resulted in a clear message to Matt Ryan and the veteran asked to move on. Ryan wanting to move on from a team that clearly no longer valued his contributions was completely understandable.

Especially on the heels of a season where you were given Jalen Mayfield as part of your protection and Russell Gage and rookie Kyle Pitts were your primary weapons. Atlanta bungled Ryan's exit by not being clear with the quarterback and costing both the veteran and themselves.

With proper communication with the veteran, the team could have set expectations and perhaps avoided a situation that resulted in two years of Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder, and Taylor Heinicke starting.

Terry Fontenot and Arthur Blank didn't learn from their previous mistakes and are now handling Kirk Cousins the exact same way. This is just another example of why fans should often be pro-players when they are looking for guaranteed money or holding out for larger contracts.

it is a brutal league where the owner's only loyalty is to what they want to build and the bottom line. Giving Kirk Cousins a four-year contract and instantly drafting his replacement shows either a lack of trust in Cousins or that you have no plans of honoring the deal.

Just as giving your franchise quarterback no warning you are looking to force him out is poor management. Regardless of whether or not the moves are right or wrong Atlanta is showing one of the most concerning traits any franchise can, an inability to learn from your mistakes.