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Don’t Break the Bank Betting Michael Penix Jr. to Make a Start for Falcons in 2024

There were few head-scratching picks during the 2024 NFL Draft first round, but one selection stood out. That is when the Atlanta Falcons, with the eighth overall pick, selected quarterback Michael Penix Jr., headlining NFL news.

This selection is shocking because the Falcons has brought in a new quarterback during free agency. Kirk Cousins signed a four-year deal worth $180 million, with $100 million guaranteed. That is a massive contract to hand someone before drafting their replacement and potentially the future of the franchise.

Don’t Break the Bank Betting Michael Penix Jr. to Make a Start for Falcons in 2024
Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Atlanta Falcons/Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

After signing Cousins to a massive contract, drafting Penix has quickly become one of the more confusing picks of the first round. That opens up the debate about whether Penix will even get a start in his rookie season. BetUS has put up NFL odds on whether Penix will get a start this season, which could be an interesting future prop to look at before Week 1.

 

 

Worth Betting Penix to Start a Game This Season?

Despite the situation, Penix is favored to start at least one game this season. The odds are set at -130 for him to get at least one start this season, and the key phrase in that sentence is “at least one.”

In Week 8 last season, while playing for the Minnesota Vikings, Cousins tore his Achilles, taking him out for the season. That didn’t prevent the Falcons from deciding to swoop in and sign Cousins away from the Vikings, offering more money and security while he was injured.


However, it seems Cousins should be healthy to start Week 1, which limits Penix’s chances for that one start. Cousins has been throwing the ball at the Falcons OTAs, so by the time the preseason comes around, he should be more than ready to go. That eliminates the chance of Penix getting a start early in the season due to Cousins’ injury.

On the other hand, having suffered such a significant injury last season, the Falcons could try to rest Cousins when they get a chance, which once again opens the door for Penix to get a start. The only issue is that outside of last season, Cousins, who will turn 36 in August, has stayed healthy throughout his career and has only missed one start since 2015.

Another reason Penix might be favored to at least get one start this season is that the Falcons might want to see what kind of player they drafted. The Falcons are currently favored to win the NFC South, with odds at -125. If they somehow lock up a playoff spot locked early, that could allow the Falcons to put Penix in an NFL game late in the season – just to see how he performs with little on the line.

What made the Falcons’ selection of Penix so shocking is that he is not a quarterback that needs a year or two to sit. Penix has the talent to start in the NFL right now, and it doesn’t help that he was the second-oldest quarterback selected in the draft. While at Washington last season, Penix balled out, throwing for 4,903 yards, 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while leading his team to the national championship game.

There is not much logic behind making Penix sit behind Cousins for an entire season, so that might be why he is favored to at least get one start as a rookie. Furthermore, there is always a chance of an injury happening, leading to Penix at least getting one start.

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Odds Favor Penix to Ride the Bench in 2024

The Falcons’ pick of Penix did not make much sense. Cousins is going to be the starter this season, and the first real option for the team to get out of contract is after his second season. The odds are set at -110 that Penix will never get a start in the 2024season, which is the Falcon’s current plan.

That provides the framework for Penix to ride the bench behind Cousins, even though it doesn’t make sense. If that is the Falcons’ plan, it does seem like they will try to stick to it unless Cousins suffers an injury. Even if Cousins struggles and Penix looks amazing in practice, benching the No. 1 QB would not be a good look.

The Falcons have Cousins under contract for a lot of money, and benching him for Penix would make it seem like the franchise has no direction. If the fanbase sees Penix come into a game and look much better than Cousins, that will create real issues for the franchise.

That is not to say Cousins is a bad quarterback, because he is not. He threw for 4,547 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2022, his last full healthy season. Even in 2023, before the injury, Cousins was in for another big season, throwing for 2,331 yards and 18 touchdowns in eight games. However, the potential risk for the future of Cousins’ contract if Penix plays and looks great is too much.

Penix is an NFL-ready quarterback, and if he outshines Cousins, what’s the point of paying him all that money to not give the Falcons their best chance to win games? By leaving Penix on the bench this question is never asked, therefore not calling into question the franchise’s decisions.

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Questions Of The Day

Will Penix Start This Season?


Again, this draft pick still makes little sense, especially if the plan is to sit a 24-year-old rookie for two to four seasons while Cousins is the starter. But because of that, if Cousins is healthy, it seems unlikely that Penix will get a start this season.
The Falcons are favored in NFL odds to win the NFC South, which won’t happen without a good season from a quarterback, which will be Cousins. If Cousins is playing well and is healthy, Penix will not get a start in 2024. Even if Cousins is playing average, the risk of Penix outshining him could leave the rookie holding the clipboard.

Are the Falcons a playoff team?


Yes, the Falcons are a playoff team, and their odds to win the weak NFC South are set at -125.

 

 

The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.

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