Arthur Blank explains why Falcons are not pursuing Lamar Jackson


The Atlanta Falcons were in on Deshaun Watson last year but the quarterback went up to Cleveland instead. So when Lamar Jackson became available once again this offseason it seemed like another opportunity for the Falcons to land a star quarterback.

However, the Falcons quickly silenced any reported interest in Jackson and have stood by that.

On Tuesday, head coach Arthur Smith announced that second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder will start for the Falcons in 2023.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank addressed his stance on Jackson and his team’s quarterback situation with Ridder under center during his appearance on “Dukes & Bell” on Tuesday.

“I think we look at our situation, we’ve come out of an era where 25% and heading north of that was going to be tied up with one player,” Blank said. “That put us in a position where we couldn’t do two things. We couldn’t build out and build up our roster across the board not only for depth but also for frontline starters. Having a quarterback that can play competitively is critical but you have to have a good defense, you have to have a competitive offense to be able to move the ball and stop the ball, etc. I think part of our recognition was that we had a lot of work to do in that regard.”

The Falcons have in fact been adding players across the board on both sides of the ball rather than letting a quarterback eat up a sizable chunk of the cap.

Blank is also confident in Ridder as a second-year starter.

“I think probably most importantly for us is we drafted this young man, Desmond Ridder, last year in the third round and I think he’s continued to show everything that we expected of him and maybe beyond that to the point where coach Smith and the staff, including Terry (Fontenot) and Rich (McKay), we all feel comfortable that he should be our starter going into next year,” he said.

“And we’ve got a really good young backup, Taylor Heinecke, who lives in Atlanta and can drive to work in seven minutes and is a really qualified backup to support Desmond as well, and that makes a lot of sense for us.”

The Falcons are trying to build something in Atlanta after missing the playoffs – and finishing with seven or fewer wins – for the fifth straight season. And they want to be able to retain their guys when it gets to that point.

“We want to be able to sign our own and be able to be active in free agency across the board and continue to draft well and when players are ready to consider free agency we want to make sure that they stay at home,” Blank said. “We want to be able to keep them at home if that’s our decision.”

However, Blank understands that Jackson is a premier player.

“I would say that anytime you have a player of that stature that comes to the free agency market I think every team – I wouldn’t say every team, but I would say pretty much most teams would certainly look at Lamar as an opportunity.”

Opportunity knocked for the Falcons and it appears they’re keeping the door closed.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Todd Kirkland/Getty Image