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Raheem Morris: Kirk Cousins doesn't have to look over his shoulder

The Falcons' decision to take quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth overall pick was one of the biggest headlines of the the 2024 NFL Draft because the team also made one of the splashiest moves in free agency.

Penix's arrival came a little more than a month after Atlanta signed Kirk Cousins to a contract that includes $100 million in guaranteed money. Following that move up by taking his possible successor before a snap has been played has generated plenty of conversation, although General Manager Terry Fontenot said that the team is fine if Penix sits for "four or five years."

That's unrealistic for a number of reasons and saying that won't do much to quiet fans or media if they start clamoring to see Penix play after rough outings by Cousins and Falcons losses. After the draft was over on Saturday, Falcons head coach Raheem Morris offered assurances that Cousins won't be playing on a short leash.

"We came up with a decision, this is what we plan to do," Morris said, via Marc Raimondi of ESPN.com. "And Kirk does not have to look over his shoulder every time he throws a bad pass. Like, that is not the case. So I know I'm going to have to tell you guys once or twice that that is not the case. Like, we are here to go win, and we are here to go win it all. We are here to win as much as we can win."

All of that sounds good in April, but seeing how everyone involved handles a three-game losing streak in November or an absence from Cousins that gives Penix a chance to shine will be a truer test of the arrangement in Atlanta.