For several years the Falcons just held their breath when it came to the backup quarterback position. Dominique Davis was in the spot until last spring when the Falcons acquired T.J. Yates from Houston for linebacker Akeem Dent.
Yates had played in 13 games in three seasons with the Texans before the deal. With Atlanta, Yates saw action in only one game, September 18 in the blowout win over Tampa Bay at the Georgia Dome.
Yates was 3-for-4 for 64 yards, including a 40-yard pass and an interception. Obviously, Matt Ryan stayed healthy, so Yates was not needed very much. That's always the best scenario for any backup quarterback. You hope they are effective if needed, but you hope that are not needed very much since that would signal the starter is out with an injury.
Now Yates will be an unrestricted free agent on March 7. Since he has experience as a starter, there may be a market for Yates. It will be interesting to see how new head coach Dan Quinn and new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan feel about the backup quarterback position.
With Ryan being so key to the offense, any injury that would keep him out for an extended period of time could cripple the team, regardless of who the backup is on the roster. But it is valuable to have someone who can step in and provide production for the offense, even if it's a dependable player that won't mess up.
Unless Shanahan and Quinn have someone else specifically in mind, there seems to be a good chance Yates would be wanted on the 2015 Falcons. He's an upgrade over Davis, and it must be comforting knowing someone like Yates could step in and there not be a huge drop off at the position.
Like most things dealing with free agency, this will probably come down to money. If Yates has a team offer him more money, he'll likely leave the Falcons.
There is one name to keep in mind as someone Shanahan might prefer over Yates and that's Brian Hoyer, who was Shanahan's quarterback with the Browns this past season. Will Hoyer remain in Cleveland, or will he simply look for a backup role elsewhere?
The Falcons have a decent option in Yates, but they may simply prefer a better one on the open market, particularly at their best price.
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Should the Falcons resign T.J. Yates?
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