But with the No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft, Atlanta could certainly be in the market for a quarterback of the future.
That would make Mariota a bridge quarterback, which most would expect. But Mariota wants to make Atlanta his home for years to come in his first opportunity to start since the Titans benched him for Ryan Tannehill in 2019.
In an interview with Steve Wyche for the Falcons’ website, Mariota reiterated that there’s nothing guaranteed for him entering 2022.
“This is just an opportunity,” Mariota said. “I feel like I have never been handed anything and I’m excited for this.
“If things work out, hopefully I’ll be here for the next few years.”
But Mariota recognizes that the Falcons could also bring in a quarterback via the draft. And if that happens, he plans to support the young QB however he can.
“If it’s not me, it’s okay too,” Mariota said. “I’ve been in this situation before. It’s a ‘control what I can control,’ mindset. I have no ego. I can be an ear and listen. Teams are going to do what they’re going to do. If they do draft someone, I’ll give as much advice and knowledge as I can. If not, I’m ready to roll.”
Mariota has the advantage of being familiar with the scheme, having played under head coach Arthur Smith with the Titans. But Mariota will have to be significantly better than he was the last time he was a starter to not just win the Falcons QB1 job, but also keep it.