Arthur Smith deserves a healthy level of blame for how the Atlanta Falcons season finished in 2023. However, if we are handing out second place in reasons the Falcons failed Desmond Ridder is obviously the choice. The quarterback finished the year with 2,836 and 12 touchdowns and interceptions. This doesn't include the consistent fumbles and missing open receivers with regularity.
Desmond Ridder had about as poor of a start in this league as you can have as a starter in this league. Despite this, the Falcons would still be wise to keep the quarterback on the roster. Desmond Ridder is as cheap and reliable as a third option as you will find at the position.
Having your emergency quarterback have actual extended starting experience is rare in today's league. Ridder is on the third year of a third-round rookie contract. Keeping him as a bargain depth piece is a wise move with the hopes he will never have to see the field again.
This allows you to cut Taylor Heinicke to save cap space and bring in both a starter and either a veteran or young quarterback to develop depending on who your starter is. Ridder wasn't the answer many believed him to be.
Expectations of Ridder being a game manager that could get a good roster to the playoffs were far off. Desmond isn't a starter in this league and is a lower-tier backup quarterback. However, if Atlanta brings in two quarterbacks ahead of Ridder they will have one of the best third options in the league.
While this obviously isn't saying much for a player you hope never takes the field it is cheap and easy depth to retain. Moving on from Ridder isn't the right decision unless they believe he will be a problem for the new starting quarterback. Otherwise keeping Desmond clearly makes the most sense for a team that has been very savvy with how they have spent their cap space.