FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – What was expected has now been decided. Quarterback Marcus Mariota will be placed on injured reserve.
Head coach Arthur Smith announced that fact during his Wednesday press conference. Smith also said Mariota would have surgery – he mentioned a knee issue in his Monday meeting with the media – and go on the reserve list. The formal transaction took place on Wednesday afternoon.
With just four games remaining, he's ineligible to return during the regular season. He could return if the Falcons make the playoffs, though it would be as a backup.
While Mariota is scheduled to repair an injury, Smith has said several times that naming Desmond Ridder starting quarterback was "performance-based" and had nothing to do with the Mariota ailment.
Ridder takes over as starting quarterback, with new signing Logan Woodside as his backup. Mariota has another year on a contract signed last March, but his 2023 salary isn't guaranteed, per overthecap.com, and his release comes with just $2.5 million in dead money.