Falcons QB Kirk Cousins 'doesn't have to look over his shoulder' for Michael Penix Jr., says Raheem Morris

Falcons head coach Raheem Morris told the media that Penix isn't there to compete with Cousins.

The Atlanta Falcons are continuing to loudly defend their surprise first-round draft pick, former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Most teams don't need to do that following their first-round draft pick, but most teams don't take a quarterback with the eighth overall pick after signing an established veteran QB to a four-year, $180 million contract.

But that's just what the Falcons did. They signed Kirk Cousins to that deal in March (which includes $100 million guaranteed), and then didn't tell him they were essentially drafting his replacement Thursday night until they were on the clock.

Despite that confusion, head coach Raheem Morris reiterated Saturday that Penix is not there to compete with Cousins.

"Kirk does not have to look over his shoulder every time he throws a bad pass," Morris told the media via ESPN. "Like, that is not the case. So I know I'm going to have to tell you guys once or twice that that is not the case. Like, we are here to go win, and we are here to go win it all. We are here to win as much as we can win."

Penix being drafted eighth overall by the Falcons was one of the true shockers of the first night of the draft. No one saw it coming, and for a very important reason: It didn't make a lot of sense. Atlanta GM Terry Fontenot just signed Cousins in March, and the team has more immediate needs for the upcoming season than backup quarterback. Additionally, Penix wasn't projected to be drafted until the second round, so the Falcons taking him eighth was a major reach. (Yahoo Sports' Charles McDonald gave the Falcons' draft an overall D- grade.)

With the 2024 NFL Draft ending Saturday, Morris discussed the selection of Penix being the biggest story of the draft, using the most ill-suited example possible.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks on from the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, January 7, 2024. (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Kirk Cousins won't be competing with recently drafted quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

"I hate for it to be like the story of the draft," Morris said. "I know it will be. That's just how our world is based and is driven, but I can't say it's annoying. No. Because it's what people want to see; it's piqued more interest. What's [Travis] Kelce's girlfriend's name? I feel like her right now. I'm Taylor Swift and Terry is Kelce, I guess."