How soon could Penix Jr. force his way into the Falcons lineup?

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

Part of the problem with the Atlanta Falcons drafting Michael Penix Jr. is the fact you just signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year deal. This leads to the obvious question when is the earliest that Penix could find his way into the starting lineup?

Working under the assumption that Cousins is able to stay healthy, the 2026 season is the most reasonable answer. The first two years of Kirk's deal are almost impossible to escape unless you're willing to admit a mistake and take on a ridiculous dead cap hit.

While there is a penalty in the third year of the deal it is far easier to swallow. Though if Cousins is still playing at a high level two years into the deal Atlanta could wait to make the decision until 2027. This is the biggest issue with Atlanta's selection of Penix. You just spent major capital on Cousins and have at least a two year commitment to the veteran.

The earliest the Atlanta Falcons can start Penix Jr. is in the 2026 season

If things go well and you retain Cousins for year three or four, Penix's contract will be expiring as well. At best the Falcons are going to spend the first two years of the former Washington quarterback's contract watching him backup Cousins.

The most likely answer to when Penix finds his way into the starting lineup is 2026 or 2027 depending on Kirk's level of play. Speaking to the oddity of the pick and how much the Falcons must believe in Penix. Though it is fair to point out the team doesn't believe in him enough to hand over the reins for at least the next two seasons.

Michael Penix Jr. is an expensive backup plan the team has put in a position to sit back and learn for at least two years. How the pick ages depends entirely on Cousins' level of play and health.

For now, however, this is Kirk's team and the earliest that is going to change will be in 2026. Leaving Penix two years to sit back and learn from one of the better veterans in the game.