Taylor Heinicke, Falcons conform to deal, per supply: Can he beat QB Desmond Ridder for beginning job?

The Falcons agreed to phrases Tuesday morning with free-agent quarterback Taylor Heinicke, a staff supply confirmed to The Athletic on Tuesday. NFL Network was first to report the information. Here’s what you want to know:

  • Heinicke, 29, is an Atlanta native who has performed 5 seasons within the NFL, beginning 25 video games.
  • He threw for 1,859 yards with 12 touchdowns, six interceptions and a 62.6 completion proportion in 9 video games (all begins) final season with the Washington Commanders.
  • The Falcons went 7-10 and completed final within the NFC South with quarterback Marcus Mariota in 2022. The staff launched Mariota two weeks in the past.

The Athletic’s prompt evaluation:

How Heinicke matches with Atlanta

Heinicke seemingly involves Atlanta pondering he has an opportunity to earn the beginning job, and he does. But it’s onerous to view the deal as something however excellent news for quarterback Desmond Ridder, who began the ultimate 4 video games of the 2022 season as a rookie. There have been questions for the reason that season ended about whether or not the Falcons would hunt down a top-tier veteran on the commerce market or use its top-10 choose within the upcoming draft on a quarterback however bringing Heinicke places a cease to that discuss.

The runway is now clear for Ridder to hold on to the beginning job. If that doesn’t occur, Heinicke has confirmed himself a succesful starter. Twenty-four of his 25 profession begins have come within the final two seasons in Washington, and he’s 12-12-1 as a starter. If Ridder doesn’t develop how Atlanta hopes or is injured, the Falcons would really feel like they might win video games with Heinicke on the helm. — Kendall

Falcons’ draft technique

I used to be curious whether or not or not we might see Atlanta dip its toe into the quarterback draft market this yr. But the signing of Heinicke to a reported two-year deal value as much as $20 million most likely takes that out off the desk.

That’s some huge cash for a backup, although. So, whereas the Falcons proceed to say Ridder will probably be their 2023 starter, it’s most likely truthful to surprise in the event that they gained’t be again an excellent higher crop of prospects subsequent yr — led by USC’s Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye. Heinicke is sweet sufficient to begin video games if Ridder falls aside this season, however that deal wouldn’t hold Atlanta from probably revisiting its quarterback state of affairs in 2024. — Baumgardner


Heinicke performed at Collins Hill High School simply outdoors Atlanta. He was named the participant of the yr within the state of Georgia his senior season however didn’t draw main recruiting curiosity and ended up at Old Dominion, the place he threw for 730 yards and 5 touchdowns in a sport in 2012.

He was signed by the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2015. After being waived by the Vikings, he hung out with the Patriots, Texans, Panthers and St. Louis BattleHawks of the XFL earlier than touchdown in Washington.

For extra on NFL free company, you’ll be able to observe The Athletic’s dwell weblog right here.

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(Photo: Jay Biggerstaff / USA Today)

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