Colts gets Gardner Minshew for one year, $3.5 million

Super Bowl LVII Opening Night presented by Fast Twitch
Getty Images

Quarterback Gardner Minshew was, at one point, the next big thing in Jacksonville. He’s now getting low-end backup money in Indianapolis.

Per a source with knowledge of the terms of the deal, the Colts will pay Minshew $3.5 million for 2023.

The deal consists of a $1.75 million signing bonus, and a $1.75 million base salary.

He can earn another $2 million in playing-time incentives this year, pushing the deal to a maximum value of $5.5 million.

While it’s possible Minshew will be the placeholder for a rookie taken at the top of the draft, he’s more likely the backup — sooner than later — in Indy.

Minshew’s spot as the backup to Jalen Hurts in Philly has been filled by Marcus Mariota.

Eagles replace Gardner Minshew with Marcus Mariota

Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons
Getty Images

Gardner Minshew is out. Marcus Mariota is in.

The Eagles have replaced Minshew, who will join the Colts, with Mariota.

Via Adam Schefter of, Mariota has reached agreement on a one-year, $5 million deal. Incentives can push the value to $8 million.

He was the second overall pick in the draft. After five years with the Titans, he spent two with the Raiders and one with the Falcons.

Still only 29, Mariota’s skillset meshes better with starter Jalen Hurts than Minshew’s. Mariota, like Hurts, possesses the kind of mobility that allows him to run the aspects of the offense that require the quarterback to run.

Mariota started 13 games for the Falcons in 2022. He was benched for rookie Desmond Ridder late in the year, prompting Mariota to leave the team.

He’s one of the three quarterbacks who were part of the season-long Netflix show focusing on the life of an NFL quarterback. It’s due to debut this summer, and it will give Eagles fans a chance to better get to know the player who becomes the new understudy to one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

Terry Fontenot: We appreciate Marcus Mariota and what he did when he was here

Atlanta Falcons v Washington Commanders
Getty Images

The Falcons released Marcus Mariota on Tuesday, ending his tenure with the team after one unsuccessful season.

The No. 2 pick of the 2015 draft, Mariota had not been a starter since losing the job in Tennessee to Ryan Tannehill midway through the 2019 season. But in 13 games in 2022, he completed 61.3 percent of his possessor 2,219 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He rushed for 438 yards with four TDs.

“We really appreciate Marcus and all the things he did while he was here,” General Manager Terry Fontenot said at the Combine on Tuesday. “Personally and professionally, a great man.

“We’ve had great communication with both he and his agent Ryan Tollner throughout the process, and we just believe we’re doing what’s best for the team at this time. But appreciate him and what he did when he was here.”

That leaves Desmond Ridder and Logan Woodside as the two quarterbacks under contract for 2023 with Ridder as the presumed QB1. But Fontenot said they’re not naming him the starter heading into the offseason program.

“We wouldn’t do that,” Fontenot said. “We wouldn’t make any announcements like that, or we’re not in the business of anointing players, but again, really excited about the things he’s done, but we’re going to add to the position.”

Fontenot added that the club has liked Ridder’s makeup, how he’s handled his roles, and the way he played in his four starts at the end of the season.

Ridder completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 708 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also fumbled three times.

“He dealt with adversity, he got off the mat, and he kept fighting,” Fontenot said. “So, Desmond has done some good things, and we know he’s going to continue to improve this offseason, and we’re going to continue to add to the position, whether it’s free agency, the draft, or both.

“We’ve talked about the quarterback position and how we want to make sure we continue to add to that position, and we want to keep bringing players in. Really excited about Desmond, and yet we’re going to add to the position.”

Falcons cut Marcus Mariota

NFL: DEC 04 Steelers at Falcons
Getty Images

Marcus Mariota‘s stint with the Falcons is finished after one year.

The Falcons announced this morning that they have released Mariota.

That’s no surprise, given that cutting Mariota saves $12 million on the Falcons’ salary cap, and given that Mariota did not play well last season.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, Mariota is only 29 years old and might still have a future in the NFL, but so far his career has been a disappointment. He’s likely to fit somewhere with a team that wants a veteran backup.

FMIA: The Scourge of Draft Desperation and The Combine Without a Sure Thing

Andrew Wevers/USA TODAY Sports

You learn a lot talking to smart people. Daniel Jeremiah’s a smart guy, and I learned a lot from our conversation Saturday evening. Namely: There is one position of great intrigue entering the Scouting Combine this week in Indianapolis, one position that is an absolute mystery with the draft kicking off two months from today.Quarterback. [more]

Netflix, NFL partner on Quarterback series

In this photo illustration a Netflix logo seen displayed on
Getty Images

As the NFL embraces streaming, the NFL has embraced a new streaming company.

Netflix announced on Wednesday its first partnership with the NFL. The end result is Quarterback, a docu-series that explores each season through the lens of an NFL quarterback.

The first season, coming this summer, focuses on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, and Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota.

The announcement promises “exclusive, unprecedented access” to the players, both on the field and in their homes.

The three quarterbacks had microphones on them for every game of their seasons.

Mahomes newly-formed production company, 2PM Productions, will produce the series. He’s quoted in the release, as is Peyton Manning, because Omaha Productions is part of the project, too.

Omaha Productions is basically part of everything the NFL currently does. That makes Peyton Manning a wide-ranging freelancer for all things NFL, giving him far more influence than he’d have if he ever settled in to a specific job somewhere.

We’ll see whether that influence results in only the most manicured and sanitized moments making it to the show, or whether we’ll get something raw and real — like the true story behind Mariota abruptly leaving the Falcons after he was benched, or the steps taken during the AFC playoff game against the Jaguars to get Mahomes back on the field after suffering an ankle injury.

And is it possible that, at some point during the year, Cousins actually uttered a word stronger than dang, shoot, or frick? If he did, here’s hoping it makes the cut. (He probably didn’t.)

The next question becomes whether this is the beginning of a new relationship that potentially will culminate in Netflix broadcasting NFL games. The Amazon-NFL partnership began several years ago with the All or Nothing series, an in-season equivalent to Hard Knocks. Now, Amazon has the Thursday night package.

Quarterback could have landed anywhere. It’s not with one of the NFL’s current broadcast partners. The fact that it’s with a company with which the NFL hasn’t previously done business should not be underestimated as the NFL’s gears slowly churn into the future of TV or, as the case may be, not TV.

Arthur Blank: I love our young quarterback

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons
Getty Images

Falcons General Manager Terry Fontenot said recently that the team is going to look for additions to the quarterback room this offseason and they have a lot of cap room and the eighth overall pick to use as part of that effort.

They also have 2022 third-round pick Desmond Ridder coming back after closing out his rookie season with four starts and one influential member of the organization is excited about that. Falcons owner Arthur Blank called Ridder a “natural leader” who impressed him with his play in the final weeks of the season.

“I love our young quarterback,” Blank said. “I know he only played four games but the trend line during those four games was all good. He didn’t throw the ball to the other team which is a huge factor in winning games. He’s not color blind, so I feel good about where we are and I think our fans should feel that way, honestly.”

Ridder was 73-of-115 for 708 yards and two touchdowns in his four starts. As Blank noted, he avoided interceptions but he did lose a pair of fumbles.

The Falcons also have Marcus Mariota under contract, but last year’s benching makes it hard to imagine the Falcons would choose him over Ridder. An outside acquisition would be a different story, even if the guy who signs the checks likes what he’s seen so far.

Terry Fontenot on QBs: We’re excited about where we are, but we’re going to add players

Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals
Getty Images

The Falcons are entering their third season under General Manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith with a lot of cap room.

After living with $88 million in dead-cap money following the Matt Ryan trade last offseason, Atlanta should have somewhere around $56 million in cap space this offseason. They could spend some of that on another quarterback.

The team signed Marcus Mariota in free agency and drafted Desmond Ridder in the third round in 2022. Mariota went 5-8 as a starter with Ridder going 2-2.

Fontenot said this week that the Falcons want to continue bringing people into the building for the position.

“We have two quarterbacks on the roster,” Fontenot said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’re excited about where we are, but yet, we are going to add players. You have teams that put a lot of cap space at that position and some teams that don’t. But I will say that we always want to keep adding to the [group].”

Mariota signed a two-year deal as a free agent last year, though the team could save $12 million in cap space by releasing him. Ridder will enter the second season of his four-year rookie contract.

Ridder completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 708 yards with two touchdowns and no picks in his four starts. He also fumbled three times, losing two of them.

Fontenot said Ridder “did some really good things” in his four-start stretch.

“We keep talking about Desmond’s mindset and the way he carries himself and the way he works,” Fontenot said. “So, we know that he’s going to look at the good things he did and look at the things he needs to improve on.

“He’s going to have a great offseason and be ready to roll.”

In addition to their substantial cap space, the Falcons have the No. 8 pick in this year’s draft.

Falcons not making any quarterback decisions for 2023 yet

Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals
Getty Images

Marcus Mariota started 13 games for the Falcons this season with rookie Desmond Ridder ending the season with his first four career starts.

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 “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.

FMIA Week 18: Damar Hamlin Gets His Flowers Right On Time

Kevin Sabitus/Getty

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.—You want the truth about the coin flip that set in motion the script so unlikely that Spielberg would have found it far-fetched? If the Bills had won the toss, Sean McDermott instructed his captains to defer.The Bills would have kicked off.“I’m glad they lost this one,” McDermott told me.I should say so. [more]

David Blough becomes the 64th NFL starting quarterback this year


The NFL has admitted that it aggressively enforces the rule against roughing the passer to ensure maximum quarterback health, since it’s quarterbacks who make games compelling — and in turn generate big TV audiences.

Even with those efforts, the Cardinals’ decision to go with well-traveled David “Mister Plow” Blough over Trace McSorley on Sunday against the Falcons means that the NFL will have had 64 different starting quarterbacks through 17 weeks. As noted by Josh Weinfuss of, that ties the non-strike-season record set in 2007.

Eleven teams have had only one starting quarterback all year long: the Bills, Bengals, Jaguars, Chiefs, Chargers, Giants, Vikings, Packers, Lions, Buccaneers, and Seahawks.

It’s not all about injuries. The Browns shifted from Jacoby Brissett to Deshaun Watson after Watson’s suspension ended. The Colts made a business decision regarding Matt Ryan (twice), and the Raiders recently made a business decision regarding Derek Carr. Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky was eventually benched, as was Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Still, most of the Week One starters who missed one or more games did so due to injury. And then, for several teams backups were injured, too. The Cardinals are now on their fourth starter. Nine teams have started three different quarterbacks: the 49ers, Titans, Jets, Colts, Dolphins, Patriots, Rams, Panthers, and Texans.

No, it’s not ideal for the NFL. The next question becomes whether teams will have their top quarterbacks for the postseason. The 49ers won’t. The Eagles possibly (but not likely) won’t. The Titans, if they make it, won’t. The Ravens possibly won’t. The Dolphins possibly won’t, if they qualify.

Patrick Mahomes is six away from breaking NFL record for consecutive completions

Kansas City Chiefs v Houston Texans
Getty Images

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a chance to break an NFL record tomorrow against the Seahawks.

Mahomes completed his final 20 pass attempts in the Chiefs’ win over the Texans on Sunday, meaning that if he completes his first six passes tomorrow, he will have completed 26 in a row, a new NFL record.

“I did not know that at all, and that doesn’t sound like me,” Mahomes told PFT after the game, “so that’s probably a one-time thing and I’ll just cherish that one.”

The current record of 25 consecutive completions is owned by four different quarterbacks: Ryan Tannehill, who did it over two games in 2015, Marcus Mariota, who did it over two games in 2018, Philip Rivers, who did it in one game in 2018, and Nick Foles, who did it in one game in 2018.

That odd collection of quarterbacks could all see their names wiped from the NFL record book on Saturday, if Mahomes connects on his first six passes.

Desmond Ridder: I’m prepared for this, Falcons didn’t baby me

Jacksonville Jaguars v Atlanta Falcons
Getty Images

Falcons rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder has never taken a snap in a regular season game, but that will change this Sunday.

Ridder will start against the Saints this weekend and there will be plenty of people curious to see how he’ll do after observing for the last 13 weeks. The third-round pick made it clear that he has no doubt that the team’s process has left him feeling “fully prepared, fully ready now.”

“I’m prepared for this,” Ridder said, via the team’s website. “This is what they’ve been preparing me for. They didn’t want to baby me. . . . It means going about the game plan how a 12-year vet, an eight-year vet, whatever it may be, would. Not putting on a wristband — making me memorize every single play call, all the ins and outs, all the checks, all the cadence, just taking it like I’ve been in the league for eight years.”

Quarterbacks coach Charles London said there’s nothing to scale back in the offense because of the change from Marcus Mariota to Ridder and one imagines that the Falcons will be able to add even more to their offense if Ridder proves capable of adding some new wrinkles to the attack. Sunday’s game will provide some hints about whether that’s a possibility as Atlanta moves forward with the rookie.

Marcus Mariota will have knee surgery, land on injured reserve

Getty Images

Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota has left the team. It officially doesn’t matter if he’s coming back.

Coach Arthur Smith told reporters on Wednesday that Mariota will have surgery next week on his injured knee, and that he’ll be placed on injured reserve, with Michael Rothstein of

It’s unclear when the injury happened. Smith has described it as a “chronic” issue. However, Mariota has not appeared on any of the team’s injury reports, at all in 2022.

Technically, Mariota could return for the postseason. But if the Falcons qualify for the playoffs with rookie Desmond Ridder at the helm, they won’t be pivoting back to Mariota.

Marcus Mariota situation confuses many

Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons
Getty Images

On Thursday, the Falcons told quarterback Marcus Mariota he’d be benched. The next day, he left the team.

It’s a confusing situation, exacerbated by an erroneous item from claiming that Mariota’s partner had a baby had a baby on Tuesday of this week. If true, that would explain his absence from the team. The truth, however, is that the baby was born last week, after the game against the Steelers.

Indeed, coach Arthur Smith painted a very different picture to, creating the clear impression that Mariota left for reasons unrelated to a recent visit from the stork.

As Smith told it, the Falcons weren’t quite sure whether Mariota will be back. At all.

Executives from other teams are scratching their heads at this. Mariota technically can’t be placed on injured reserve without a true and genuine injury that prevents him from playing. Having a supposedly chronic knee injury that he suddenly decides is bad enough to sideline him isn’t enough — especially when he hasn’t been listed A SINGLE TIME in 2022 on the team’s injury report, for any reason.

They can, if they want, carry him on the roster. That basically leaves them with 52 players, not 53. They also could waive him, but then he could land with another team. Maybe a team in the division, like the Saints. Maybe a team the Falcons still play, like the Ravens or the Cardinals.

Regardless, the situation is bizarre. And the fact that he recently welcomed a baby into the world doesn’t really tell us much about the situation, especially if he continues to be absent through the coming weekend.