Could Michael Penix Jr. be the starting quarterback in 2024?

Atlanta Falcons OTA Offseason Workout
Atlanta Falcons OTA Offseason Workout / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Atlanta Falcons quarterback controversy makes sense at first glance. When you consider the team thought enough of Michael Penix Jr. to draft the rookie 8th overall in this year's draft. There is also the fact that Kirk Cousins while an established quarterback has never been won at the highest level.

Atlanta's decisions invite quarterback debate and hot takes on when we may see Penix make his debut in the 2024 season. While it makes for interesting headlines and debate show fodder it is far from accurate on what Atlanta's plans are heading into the season.

Barring an injury or Kirk Cousins turning in Desmond Ridder overnight the team will stick with the veteran for the 2024 season. The next two years of the contract demand that Cousins remain the starter if Atlanta is going to make best use of their cap space.

In year three of Kirk's deal, the conversation could shift depending on his level of play and where Penix is believed to be in his development. This isn't to say that the Falcons won't face questions or that Cousins couldn't lose his job to injury.

Rather this team is heading into 2024 fully planning for Kirk Cousins to start every game and be the face of the franchise. Penix was taken on the idea of having depth at the position and time to develop the quarterback behind a proven veteran.

Kirk Cousins hasn't won at a high level but has consistently been productive and based on last year's handful of games started should be in no danger of losing his starting role. Penix only has one way into the lineup and that is if injury were to strike.

Atlanta didn't pay Kirk Cousins $180 million to have the veteran sit on the bench in the first year of his deal. If Cousins is healthy the veteran is going to be the starter and should be the option for the next two seasons with the first escape from the contract coming in year three.