Atlanta Falcons: Quarterbacks the Falcons can target in the offseason

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers
Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

The 2023 NFL season has been extremely underwhelming for the Atlanta Falcons. Despite having the easiest schedule in the league, the Falcons are below .500 and projected to finish third in the NFC South.

Since the team has been so disappointing and second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder has struggled immensely, the team will likely make some major changes, including getting a new head coach and a new signal caller.

Although the season is not yet complete, let’s look ahead at what the Falcons can do with their quarterback position during the offseason, including some players they can target in a trade, in free agency, and in the 2024 NFL Draft.

1. Stick with Desmond Ridder and/or Taylor Heinicke

Let’s start with the most unlikely scenario in which the Falcons decide to stick with the two quarterbacks that are already on their roster. It seems likely that their head coach Arthur Smith will be fired after the season, but if he isn’t, we could see the team decide, once again, to stick with their guys rather than sign a veteran, trading for someone who’s young and productive, or drafting a rookie.

However, If Smith does get fired, there’s no chance the Falcons will stick with Ridder or Heinicke as their starter next season. In this scenario, they’ll bring in a new head coach who will want to bring in a quarterback of his own. Not only that, the Falcons are going to have the money and the draft capital to get a new quarterback, however they want to do that.

Resources will not be a problem for this team when it comes to their process of getting a new quarterback. The only thing that would stop them from getting a new QB1 is themselves.

2. Sign a Cheap Veteran

If the Falcons decide to move on from Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke, they could look to sign a cheap veteran in free agency. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Commanders quarterback Jacoby Brissett will both be free agents and it wouldn’t cost very much to sign either player.

According to, Tannehill’s market value is a one-year $4.9 million contract. The site doesn’t have a market value for Brissett, but his current contract is a one-year deal worth $8 million and he’ll likely earn a slightly bigger contract than Tannehill because he is around four years younger.

To be completely honest, though, neither of these quarterbacks will solve the Falcons’ quarterback problem. There is one veteran quarterback they can target in free agency who is a high-level player and will require the team to invest a large sumof money, though.

3.  Sign Kirk Cousins

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins will be a free agent this summer and he will be the most sought-after quarterback in the class.

According to, Kirk Cousins’ market value is a three-year $118 million contract. That would make him around the 15th highest-paid quarterback in the league based on the total value of his contract and the 13th highest-paid quarterback based on average salary.

Cousins will be 36 years old next season and he’s coming off of a season-ending achilles injury, which will affect how big his next contract will be. However, he is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league. This season, he ranks top ten in key metrics like PFF grade and QBR, showing that he can perform at a very high level even at his advanced age.

Since he is still playing at a high level and the team is fighting for a playoff spot, It seems likely that the Vikings will do whatever it takes to retain Cousins. However, it would be smart for the Falcons to consider signing him if they feel he is worth the risk of a sizeable contract considering his age and injury.

4. Trade for Justin Fields

The latest reports make it seem that the Chicago Bears are leaning towards drafting a quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft assuming their pick from the Panthers stays at number one or number two.

If that is the team’s plan, they will probably trade their young gunslinger Justin Fields for a slew of draft picks, and over the last couple of weeks, people have pointed to Fields as a possible fit for the Falcons.

This leads to a big question: how much would it cost for a team like the Falcons to acquire Fields? Josh Edwards from CBS pointed out that "a handful of veterans like Carson Wentz, Sam Bradford and Alex Smith have been traded for a first-round pick and a Day 2 pick well into their careers," so it’s possible that the Bears could get a similar return for Fields.

However, the cost will probably be cheaper if they trade him to the Falcons. Although Fields has developed into a solid passer over the last two seasons, he isn’t quite good enough for the Falcons to give up a top-ten pick to get him. They would probably trade a few day-two picks plus some late-round picks to get him.

Is this the best decision for the team? I’d say no, not because Justin Fields is bad, which seems to be the consensus opinion of him, but because it will take too much draft capital to get him and it is much smarter for the Falcons to invest draft capital in getting a rookie quarterback of their own. Speaking of that, here are some rookie quarterbacks the Falcons can target in this year’s draft.

5. Draft a Rookie Quarterback

One of the easiest ways the Falcons can get a new quarterback is through the draft. Right now, they are slotted to have the 10th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. ESPN projects them to lose two of their final three games, which would likely give them a pick in the back half of the top ten.

If they lose out, though, they will possibly move up into the top five, giving themselves a much better chance to get one of the best quarterbacks in the class. Based on their projected record, it appears that the Falcons will most likely end up with LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels if they decide to draft a quarterback in the first round.

However, they could theoretically trade up to get Caleb Williams or Drake Maye. They have the draft capital to do that, but it’s unlikely that the teams at the top of the draft will be willing to trade down if they need a quarterback as well.

If the Falcons hire a new head coach, drafting a rookie quarterback seems like one of the more likely scenarios, especially considering where they are expected to land in the upcoming draft.