The Atlanta Falcons are turning the page to a new era heading into the 2022 NFL season, replacing fan-favorite Matt Ryan with a quarterback battle between Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder. While the rookie might make a few starts this year, it seems the quarterback competition isn’t a contest right now.

Atlanta signed Mariota immediately after trading Ryan, reuniting the former Tennessee Titans quarterback with coach Arthur Smith. Based on the contract the former No. 1 pick signed with the Falcons, many assumed he would be the starting quarterback.

  • Marcus Mariota contract: 2 years, $18.75 million

However, that expectation soon shifted. Atlanta selected Ridder with the 74th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, landing a player who some believed was a first-round talent far later than anticipated. With Ridder also one of the most pro-ready quarterbacks in the draft, the rookie’s chances of starting in 2022 looked promising.

The details of Mariota’s contract also made it clear that the 28-year-old effectively signed a one-year deal. A majority of the $18.75 million total value would only be paid out if he is on the roster on the fifth day of the 2023 league year.