Mariota released as Falcons show trust in QB Ridder
Marcus Mariota was released by the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday as Arthur Smith cut the quarterback from his roster after just one season.
The move seemingly boosts the prospects of Desmond Ridder, a third-round pick who played four times in his rookie season, becoming the regular starting QB for Atlanta.
The Falcons may still elect to bring in a more experienced starting signal caller, but the Mariota dalliance is over.
Recruited to take the place of Matt Ryan, who joined the Indianapolis Colts, Mariota ranked 27th among NFL quarterbacks in completion percentage (61.3 per cent), registering 2,219 yards, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions, also rushing for 438 yards.
The Hawaii-born 29-year-old had joined on a two-year contract last March and his release frees up salary cap space.
Falcons head coach Smith had previously worked with Mariota at the Tennessee Titans, where the quarterback had a four-and-a-half-season stint as a starter, eventually losing his place to Ryan Tannehill.
A subsequent spell with the Las Vegas Raiders saw Mariota serve as back-up to Derek Carr, before the Falcons swooped for him.
Although Ridder lost out to Mariota for the start initially in the 2022 season, the 23-year-old usurped his senior colleague towards the end of the campaign. Mariota finished with a 5-8 record in a 7-10 season for the Falcons, with Ridder 2-2 over the closing four-game stretch.
Smith, quoted on the team's web page, praised Ridder but offered no assurances over who would be his starting QB, saying: "As always, all options are on the table."