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Falcons’ Raheem Morris: ‘Never a right time’ to tell QB you’re drafting his replacement

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In a Draft Day Shocker, Atlanta Picks Penix Despite Paying Cousins $100M

The thick smoke of confusion still lingers in the Atlanta air. When the Falcons went on the clock with the 8th overall pick, you could have drawn endless scenarios of how their selection would unfurl. Grabbing an elite defensive stud to pair with newcomer Jessie Bates? Sure. Maybe finally investing premium capital into protecting their quarterback? Makes sense.

Taking a quarterback themselves, despite inking Kirk Cousins to a monster $100 million deal just weeks ago? Absolutely no one saw that Molotov cocktail of a curveball coming.

Yet there it was – with the 8th pick, the Atlanta Falcons selected…Michael Penix Jr., quarterback, Washington. The chaos immediately ensued.

Cousins himself was reportedly “stunned” upon learning his newly-minted team had drafted his potential successor, according to his agent. You can’t blame him for feeling a bit betrayed and whiplashed by the Falcon’s unconventional move.

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It puts Atlanta and Cousins in a most peculiar situation. This isn’t the typical “Aaron Rodgers getting clarity on his eventual replacement” scenario, where the incumbent is more towards the twilight of his career and the writing is on the wall. No, Cousins is just arriving.

The former Viking was the prize of Atlanta’s aggressive offseason, signed to be the face of the franchise after the messy divorce from Matt Ryan. And now, through no fault of his own, Cousins is being forced to look over his shoulder at his potential usurper before he even takes his first snap.

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Head coach Raheem Morris tried to apply some salve to the scorching situation, emphasizing Cousins remains the unquestioned starter while stating “it’s never a right time” to have that talk about drafting a QB with your QB.

GM Terry Fontenot took it a step further, bizarrely suggesting Penix may have to hold a clipboard and blocked view of the field for “four or five years” before ever getting his shot in Atlanta. That would make the 24-year-old Penix roughly 29 years old and realistically limit his own window as a potential franchise QB.

It’s a highly unorthodox approach from the Falcons’ new ruling regime. One wrought with drama, perplexity, and now palpable tension mere months into their tenure. The front office is preaching patience and a sustainable model of “sustained winning”, whatever that means.

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But it’s leaving their $100 million man feeling bushwhacked from the jump. Cousins’ a professional and will no doubt publicly take the high road. Privately, though, you’d imagine he’s got to be feeling pretty snaked by his new franchise’s aggressive, future-focused move.

The Falcons have lit the fuse on a quarterback controversy that could simmer for years to come. Or it could fizzle out quickly if the situation combusts from too much unnecessary lingering awkwardness. The dawn of a new era in Atlanta is shining, but the forecast seems cloudy with a chance of chaos.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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