Michael Penix Should Have Forced The Falcons To Trade Him

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It’s the offseason here on AG, which means posts on topics that were hot 2 months ago but nobody cares about anymore, that also have nothing to do with the Chiefs. So yea, everybody and their mom has already weighed in on the Falcons picking Michael Penix 8th overall despite signing Kirk Cousins to a massive contract in free agency. But this is an angle I never heard many people talk about.

Yes, The Falcons Were Stupid

Before we get into Penix demanding a trade we need to establish why exactly this was so dumb, as I have seen people trying to defend it.

By signing Kirk Cousins to a big contract, the Falcons were signaling that they were all-in. This is a move you only make if you believe that you have an elite roster that just needs competency at the quarterback position to be a contender. Cousins has played 8 full seasons, making the playoffs 3 times and winning just 1 playoff game. This is not a player who will carry the team to Super Bowl glory. But he is good enough to not screw it up if you have an elite roster.

By drafting 24-year-old Michael Penix 8th overall, the Falcons are signaling that they believe he is an elite quarterback prospect who doesn’t need development. While 24 might not be old for a normal person, for an NFL rookie that’s ancient. For comparison, after Mahomes’ age 24 season he had won MVP and a Super Bowl. A quarterback prospect that is that old needs to be ready to play if they’re worthy of a top 10 pick. If he hasn’t developed after 6 years of Power 5 college football experience, the chances of him developing on an NFL bench are slim.

See the contradiction?

If Penix is worthy of the 8th overall pick, then the Falcons would have been better off making him a day 1 starter and using the money they spent on Cousins on free agents to further increase the talent of the team. But if they didn’t believe Penix was ready, then they shouldn’t have drafted him, as it’s a sign that he actually isn’t that good of a prospect.

The Penix Perspective

All that isn’t new. After the draft that take was repeated over and over again for weeks. But nobody talked about this from Penix’s perspective.

Again, he’s a 24-year-old rookie. He’s already starting his career later than most of his peers. Even players who end up playing a long time by NFL standards don’t really have that long to make their mark. Penix has lost out on valuable years to build his legacy, and now he’s going to have 2 more years wasted because the Falcons are all but forced to start Cousins over him because of the contract.

Penix needs to go to a team that will play him right away, and he’s in a unique position to get it done.

Why Penix Has Leverage

Thanks to a weak union, players typically have very little leverage to force themselves out of bad situations, including draft picks, who have to sit out a year before becoming draft eligible again if they refuse to sign with the team that drafted them. But Penix actually holds all the cards against Atlanta.

Missing that year is typically enough of a punishment to deter rookies from forcing their way off the teams that drafted them. It’s why Eli Manning and John Elway type situations are so rare. But Penix has nothing to lose (other than one year of a small salary) as he wouldn’t be playing on the Falcons anyway. His main concern should be playing time, so sitting out a year isn’t a big deal. On top of that the 2025 quarterback class looks to be extremely weak, so he would likely be the top prospect next year.

The Falcons, on the other hand, can’t afford to lose out on their 8th overall pick. That pick is simply too valuable to risk losing for nothing.

It is probably too late now, but had Penix immediately demanded a trade and threatened to sit out the year, the Falcons would have had no choice but to trade him to a team that would actually play him.

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Team Player
06/27/2024 10:48 am

I disagree with your vehemence and assumptions on so many levels.

Let’s start with buyers remorse on Cousins – Is Penix at least an insurance policy on that Achilles?

Do pocket passers age as quickly as mobile quarterbacks?

Are the Packers idiots for taking the long development route on QB? Drafting them in the first round with a pro bowler and playoff team?

You’re sassy and I like your moxie kid. But arrogance is unbecoming.

Reply to  Team Player
06/27/2024 12:40 pm

I can certainly see the “contradiction” and confusion from giving Cousins a huge contract and then drafting Penix at such a high spot

you pose some good and valid questions

now stop being so arrogant 😉

Team Player
Reply to  upamtn
06/27/2024 1:30 pm

Fair nuff. I realized after posting this that I was showing my age. Whippersnappers nowadays are used to pretending to be supremely confident when speaking in forums. It’s all a show and not a true reflection of their feelings.

Decorum and understatement are relics of the past. Like me.

Reply to  Team Player
06/27/2024 1:36 pm

The only problem with the Falcons doing this that I have is they started with Cousins.
I just don’t think, at this point in his career, he’s going to blossom into a leader who can will his team to victory. They got a middle of the road QB, but paid him like elite. If they had gone MOR and paid that, this makes perfect sense.
Tony is right. The Cousins money should have been used to bolster the roster everywhere else.
I’m thinking Penix was their wish-dream pick, they never thought they’d get him so the ran to Cousins, then they COULD get Penix, and they couldn’t help themselves. I don’t think they regret Cousins (yet. That should be around week 12), but he was their “We have to do something and we can’t do what we want to do” choice.
Oops. Maybe we CAN do what we wanted…

The Chiefs had their guy, but knew he wasn’t THE guy, so they drafted another guy
The Packers had their guy, THE guy, but knew they couldn’t hold onto him forever, so they got another guy to develop
The Falcons got A guy to be their guy, but clearly not the guy they wanted, and then THIER guy fell into their laps.
I’m just not sure Penix is going to be their guy, when it shakes out. So, in two years, they will likely have a guy costing a fortune AND their guy who isn’t panning out, neither of which are helping lead the Falcons out of the darkness.

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