The Falcons head into the offseason uncertain how their 2023 depth chart will look at quarterback.
It seems likely Mariota has played his final game for the Falcons, who will save $12 million in cap space for next season by cutting Mariota. He always seemed like a bridge quarterback for Atlanta when it signed him this offseason.
But Falcons coach Arthur Smith wasn’t saying one way or the other what the team expects to do with Mariota.
“There will be conversations. Nothing to update now,” Smith said, via Josh Kendall of TheAthletic.com. “Like a lot of our guys that are under contract, decisions have to be made, but nothing has been made right now.”
Mariota threw for 2,219 yards, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions before being benched and replaced by Ridder. Mariota left the team, underwent a knee procedure and did not practice the rest of the season.
Smith said Mariota returned to the team facility Monday to clean out his locker along with his teammates.
Ridder, a third-round selection, will fit on the depth chart somewhere, but where? The Falcons stopped short of declaring him the starter.
“We’re still early in the offseason, but we’re certainly encouraged by the progress he has made,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of work ahead of us before we are ready to declare anything like that right now. It doesn’t make a lot of sense two days removed from the season to make any declarations about our roster. We’ll take our time. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
Ridder completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 708 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Falcons went 2-2 in his starts.
“What we appreciate about Desmond is the way he handled himself, his poise, his confidence, the type of teammate he was,” General Manager Terry Fontenot said.