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

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.”

Terry Fontenot: We appreciate Marcus Mariota and what he did when he was here originally appeared on Pro Football Talk