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Atlanta Falcons plan to add QB, part with Marcus Mariota

Jan 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (4) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot cleared the path for Atlanta to pursue another quarterback on Tuesday.

Fontenot, speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine, said he was impressed by rookie Desmond Ridder’s showing in December. But the Falcons plan to add at the position, he said, and Atlanta is diving into options in the draft, free agency and the trade market.

“Ultimately, we’re going to add at the position,” he said. “We’re always going to leave every door open. Whether it’s the (eighth pick) or some other point in the draft, we could definitely bring in a quarterback. We don’t want to box ourselves in.”

The Falcons have the No. 8 pick in the first round and are a projected $75 million below the 2023 salary cap, meaning no contract is too onerous for the franchise to absorb. It’s part of the reason the team is consistently connected to rumors around Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

“If you have a lot of cap space, that means you have a lot of work to do,” Fontenot said.

Ridder, 23, became prominent in the team’s plans at this event last February. Fontenot cited the then-Cincinnati QB as the player who stood out the most in a sea of 330 prospects, and he met personally with 50 prospects along with his scouting staff and coaches.

But if the chance to upgrade at “critical positions” presents itself, Fontenot said the Falcons will investigate those options.

Atlanta officially released Mariota, 29, on Tuesday, Fontenot confirmed.

“We really appreciate Marcus and all the things he did while he was here,” Fontenot said.

–Field Level Media