Raheem Morris: It’s never the right time to tell a starting QB you’re drafting a QB

No one outside the Falcons’ draft room saw them spending the No. 8 pick on a quarterback. The choice of University of Washington quarterback Michael Penix surprised both Penix and his new mentor, Kirk Cousins.

Cousins’ agent, Mike McCartney, released a statement Thursday night saying they got no advance notice of the Falcons’ intent to take a quarterback.

The Falcons blindsided Cousins, reportedly leaving him “stunned.”

“He got called on the clock, obviously because of the sensitive time with the issues of what you’ve got going on,” Falcons coach Raheem Morris said, via Marc Raimondi of ESPN. “It’s never a right time to talk to a quarterback about those things, and reactions are always going to be private when it comes to those things, unless Kirk decides to tell you some of those things that are whatever they may be. But he’s a competitor, just like us all. And you can always expect those things to go just like you kind of think.”

Cousins signed a deal that has $90 million fully guaranteed and another $10 million guaranteed next March. He will be the quarterback of the Falcons the next two seasons as long as he’s healthy, and the Falcons said as much post-draft.

But it is strange the Falcons would draft Cousins’ successor in the first round before Cousins has ever played a game for them.

“These are not easy decisions. These are tough decisions,” Falcons General Manager Terry Fontenot said. “But that’s who we’re thinking about. We’re thinking about the fans. We’re thinking about this organization. We’re going to build a sustained winner. We’re going to win for a long time. That’s the most important position in football.”

The Falcons compared their plan to that of the Packers, who drafted Jordan Love with the 26th pick of the 2020 draft and then sat him behind Aaron Rodgers for three seasons before dealing Rodgers to the Jets a year ago.

If everything goes to the Falcons’ plan, Penix will sit, watch and learn for years before ever starting a game for the Falcons.

Fontenot even suggested that Penix’s wait to become a starter could be several years, which is unlikely especially given Penix turns 24 next month.

“If you believe in a quarterback, you have to take him,” Fontenot said. “And if he sits for four or five years, that’s a great problem to have because we’re doing so well at that position. So, it’s as simple as, if you see a guy you believe in at that position, you have to take him.”

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