A.J. McCarron Agrees to Contract with Falcons; Will Be Matt Ryan's Backup

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

Houston Texans quarterback AJ McCarron warms up before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons and quarterback A.J. McCarron agreed to a one-year contract Friday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

McCarron spent the last two seasons with the Houston Texans, serving as a backup to Deshaun Watson. He will fill a similar role as Matt Ryan's backup in Atlanta.

A fifth-round pick in 2014, McCarron has played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Las Vegas Raiders in addition to Houston. The Alabama product has thrown for 1,173 yards, six touchdowns against three interceptions in 17 career games (four starts). 

The Falcons were considered a possibility to draft a quarterback in the first round Thursday, but they have doubled down on their commitment to Ryan, who has been their starter the last 13 seasons. Ryan signed a restructured contract this offseason that made it unlikely the Falcons move on until at least after the 2022 season.

Atlanta general manager Terry Fontenot said Thursday drafting a young quarterback is still a possibility. 

"There's still a chance we could definitely draft a quarterback," Fontenot told reporters. "We got a long way to go, and there are some good quarterbacks that I believe [are] in the draft still. Still a chance we could draft a quarterback or, again, we could get out of the draft and there could be a trade.

"There are still a lot of other opportunities to acquire quarterbacks and to fill out the roster the right way."

The Falcons have chosen to minimally invest in backup quarterbacks in recent seasons. Matt Schaub served as Ryan's backup from 2016 to 2020 before retiring this offseason.