Despite receiving subpar production from the quarterback position, the Atlanta Falcons were involved in the NFC South race for the majority of the 2022 season. Rookie Desmond Ridder showed promise in the final four games, but many around the NFL believed the team would try to make the jump to the QB position and gain control of the division.
Once the Ravens and Lamar Jackson failed to reach a deal, Atlanta was considered as a possible landing spot. Not only did the Falcons start the 2023 league year with more than $60 million, but they also established a dominant running game and have young weapons in Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Tyler Algier under multi-year contracts.
Ultimately, the team made the decision to move forward with Ridder as quarterback this season. The Falcons eventually signed a quality backup in Taylor Heinicke and loaded up on the defense in free agency. But has Atlanta ever considered going after Lamar Jackson?
Yes @AtlantaFalcons talked about Lamar Jackson but as Arthur Smith told us, he is confident in his plans to move forward with Desmond Ridder:#NFL #nflfreeagency #nfl draft @Lj_era8 @desmondridder #dirtybirds pic.twitter.com/vccKL8pKdW
— The Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) March 31, 2023
Head coach Arthur Smith was asked about Jackson during an appearance the rich eisen show Friday. After dancing around the question for the first time, Smith explained that the Falcons discussed Jackson, but that they typically investigate all free-agent scenarios.
“Everything that becomes available around the league, you know, if it can improve your roster, we discuss. It’s at every position — whether it’s fifth cornerback, backup gunner on punt — we Always looking to add, and it’s in every position,” Smith said.
“So those discussions happen all day, every day. Those are standard operating procedures and I think most teams do the same thing and I understand some players get more attention than others, but absolutely we did. You’ve got to know what’s happening, you’ve got to watch the trends and see what’s available. So these are everyday conversations.
It should come as no surprise to hear that the team discussed Jackson, and frankly, it would be a major blow if Atlanta didn’t at least look into it. After all, it’s not often that the 26-year-old former MVP becomes available.
Instead, the Falcons are choosing to bet on themselves and will give Ridder a season to prove that he can be the guy going forward. Smith said he expected Ridder to take “the next step” this season.