After they agreed with the Colts to trade Ryan the Falcons were left looking for their new franchise QB.
They drafted Desmond Ridder in the third round of the NFL draft but he is far from ready to start NFL games.
So, now they turn their franchise over to Marcus Mariota.
At least for this season.
The Falcons agreed to terms with Mariota on a two-year/$18 million contract.
Mariota right on the money. @AtlantaFalcons up 10!
— NFL (@NFL) August 23, 2022
Now he has the chance to once again show the NFL he is a starting caliber QB.
The former Oregon Duck has had a very good preseason and he looks healthier than ever.
Mariota has started 61 games in his seven-year NFL career.
In those games, he has a record of 29-32.
He has yet to show the passing ability that made him such a highly touted prospect coming out of Oregon.
But, his legs remain a big factor.
His second NFL season was his best in the NFL.
While with Tennessee he threw for 3,426 yards and 26 touchdowns with only nine interceptions.
He even added 349 yards rushing and two touchdowns during that year.
Mariota has even had playoff success in 2017 when he took the Titans on the road and upset the Kansas City Chiefs.
This season will be the first time Mariota enters the year as the unquestioned starter since 2018.
Depending on how well he does, this could be his last chance as well.
Falcons’ Season Outlook
Mariota will look to lead this Falcons team back to the playoffs, where they have not been since 2017.
But, it will be difficult due to their undermanned roster.
The Falcons have a worse roster than the Buccaneers and Saints, which could make winning the division difficult.
But, at least Mariota has a few weapons that should help him a lot this season.
The 2021 first-round pick, Kyle Pitts, and 2022 first-round pick, Drake London, are two really good receivers.
While Pitts has a tight end designation, he plays like a wide receiver and is elite with the ball in his hands.
London was the first wide receiver picked in this past draft and he can win any jump ball thrown to him.
Mariota will have to rely on these two weapons if Atlanta wants to surprise some people this year.
Also, Mariota needs to stay healthy.
He has yet to play a full season in his seven-year career and that is something that needs to change.
It so has it that Mariota will be facing off with former draft-mate, Jameis Winston, in Sunday afternoon’s season opener.
Jameis Winston & Marcus Mariota were No. 1 & 2 overall draft picks in 2015
The 2 Heisman winners played in season opener that year just like they will on Sunday.
In 2015, Mariota's Titans beat Winston's Bucs 42-14
Mariota: 13-15-209, 4 TDs
Winston: 16-33-210, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
— Rod Walker (@RodWalkerNola) September 5, 2022
Both of those quarterbacks are looking to show they can still play at a high level in this league and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
Mariota is playing on a very cheap contract compared to the rest of the QBs in the NFL.
But, if he can help the Falcons win games, he might be in for a decent-sized payday with the number of starting QBs needed around the league.
Mariota has been a backup QB each of the past three years, this may be his last chance as a starter and hopefully, he does not waste it.