This NFL team pulled off a draft stunner that left one star player furious

The NFL draft is a three-day long event where teams look to secure their future by drafting players they hope will form the core of sustained success.

But there is always one head-scratcher at the top of the draft.

And the NFL team pulled off a draft stunner that left one star player furious.

Atlanta Falcons select a quarterback in the first round after signing high-priced free agent 

The Atlanta Falcons are in win-now mode as 81-year-old owner Arthur Blank chases the franchise’s first elusive Super Bowl championship.

With running back Bijan Robinson and tight end Kyle Pitts forming an emerging core of young skill position talent, the Falcons thought they were a triggerman away from creating an elite offense that could power a playoff end.

That’s why, in the offseason, the Falcons signed veteran Kirk Cousins away from the Minnesota Vikings to a $180 million contract.

Problem solved.

But the Falcons couldn’t help themselves but create a new issue by drafting University of Washington signal caller Michael Penix Jr. in the first round with the 8th pick.

Penix was the runner up last year for the Heisman Trophy and led Washington to the national title game where the Huskies fell to the University of Washington.

The economics of the game – a hard salary cap and rookie contracts that pay below market value – means when teams draft a rookie quarterback they need to play them immediately to take advantage of the fact that they don’t need to allocate significant salary cap resources on the most important position in sports.

But Cousins and Penix are signed to contracts of the same length, meaning both will be free agents in 2028.

The Falcons also guaranteed $100 million of Kirk Cousins’ contract, meaning the team can’t get rid of him without hamstringing their ability to field a competitive team the next couple of seasons.

Penix pick creates issues

The Falcons never told Cousins they intended on picking a quarterback when they courted him during the free agency period.

Cousins had no idea the team intended to select Penix until they were on the clock making their draft pick.

This obviously created hard feelings as Cousins thought he was brought in to be the franchise quarterback and now is in the role of fighting to stave off a hot shot rookie.

“He got called on the clock, obviously because of the sensitive time with the issues of what you got going on,” Falcons head coach Raheem Morris said. “It’s never a right time to talk to a quarterback about those things. And reactions are always going to be private when it comes to those things, unless Kirk decides to tell you some of those things that are whatever they may be. But he’s a competitor, just like us all. And you can always expect those things to go just like you kind of think.”

Cousins’ agent was far less diplomatic.

There is an old saying in football.

When you have two quarterbacks, you really have none.

The Falcons are about to put that axiom to the test going forward.

*Renewed Right Official Polling*

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