Falcons Benching Marcus Mariota For Rookie Desmond Ridder

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Falcons are benching QB Marcus Mariota for Week 15 and will instead turn to rookie QB Desmond Ridder.

Marcus Mariota

The Falcons are on bye this week, so they have some extra time to get Ridder up to speed for his first NFL start. 

Atlanta planned to keep Mariota as their starter while they were still in the playoff mix and while they’re not technically out of the running, 13 games is enough for them to have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to get from Mariota moving forward. 

Mariota, 29, is a former No. 2 overall pick of the Titans back in 2015. He signed a four-year, $24.214 million rookie contract that was fully guaranteed.

The Titans picked up Mariota’s fifth-year option worth $20.922 million for the 2019 season. They declined to re-sign him as an unrestricted free agent after he lost the starting job, though, and he ultimately agreed to a two-year contract with the Raiders worth $17.6 million. 

After playing out his deal in Las Vegas, Mariota signed a two-year deal with the Falcons in 2022. 

In 2022, Mariota has started 13 games for the Falcons and completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 2,219 yards receiving, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions to go along with 438 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

Ridder, 23, was a four-year starter at Cincinnati and quarterbacked the school to a berth in the College Football Playoff in 2021, the first time ever a non-Power 5 school had earned that distinction. The Falcons used the No. 74 overall pick in the third round on him in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Ridder signed a four-year $5,362,959 contract that includes a $1,080,334 signing bonus with the Falcons. 

During his four-year college career, Ridder completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 10,239 yards (7.9 YPA), 87 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. He also rushed 501 times for 2,180 yards and 28 additional touchdowns. 

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