Falcons Eyeing Marcus Mariota?

One of the domino effects of the Matt Ryan trade may already be taking shape. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Falcons are “expected to pursue” free agent quarterback Marcus Mariota (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Colts, Falcons Complete Ryan Trade]

Mariota, 29, played under Falcons head coach Arthur Smith when he was the offensive coordinator of the Titans. A No. 2 pick of Tennessee in 2015, Mariota spent the first five years of his career there. He compiled a 29-32 record in Nashville, with his best passing season coming in 2016 (3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns).

While the former Oregon Duck was consistent as a Titan, he never developed into the franchise signal-caller he was drafted to become. His days became numbered when Ryan Tannehill took over as the starter midway through the 2019 season. The former Dolphin was a Pro Bowler that season, and has a 30-13 overall record with the Titans.

In 2020, Mariota signed with the Raiders on a two-year deal. He didn’t register a start in his time there, coming onto the field for a total of 89 snaps while the team remained committed to Derek Carr as the starter. With an opening in Atlanta, Mariota would have a clear path back to being a starter.

At present, the Falcons’ QB room consists of Josh Rosen and Feleipe Franks. The former has bounced around to various backup and practice squad roles, while the latter joined the team last year as a UDFA. Mariota would in all likelihood join the team at the top of the depth chart if he were to sign. As a result of trading away Ryan, the team incurred an NFL-record $40.5MM in dead money, but nevertheless created just over $9MM in savings. Those funds could go towards a temporary option such as Mariota, though the team is a strong candidate to use their first round pick (eighth overall) on a quarterback.

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