The Atlanta Falcons are signing free agent quarterback Rex Grossman to a one-year contract, as first reported by Pro Football Talk. ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reports that Grossman’s deal is worth $1 million. The Falcons brought in Grossman for a workout and physical yesterday afternoon. Grossman, 35, has spent 11 years in the NFL, playing five seasons under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
Grossman’s last stint in the NFL came last August when he was competing for a reserve spot with the Cleveland Browns, who were also coordinated by Shanahan. Prior to last summer, Grossman played four years under Shanahan with the Washington Redskins. His last on-field action came as the Redskin’s starting quarterback in 2011. That season saw Grossman complete a career-high 58 percent of his passes for 3,151 yards, 16 touchdowns and 20 interceptions for a passer rating of 72.4.
Grossman first entered the NFL as a first-round pick of the Chicago Bears in 2003. He became the team’s starter at the end of his rookie year, but battled knee and ankle injuries over the next two seasons that limited him to just four starts. He came back to start every game for the Bears in 2006, shepherding the offense while the defense led them to the Super Bowl, where they eventually lost to the Indianapolis Colts. Grossman had his most productive year in 2006, passing for 3,193 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He lost his starting job to Brian Griese (2007) and Kyle Orton (2008) the following years. He joined the Houston Texans in 2009 as a backup to Matt Schaub, where he first played under Shanahan before following him to Washington in 2010.
Grossman will be expected to compete for the backup quarterback position behind Matt Ryan. It’s likely that the Falcons will only keep one reserve quarterback, and Grossman’s familiarity with Shanahan potentially gives him the inside track.
UPDATE: To make room for Grossman, the Falcons waived/injured running back Evan Royster. Royster suffered a rib injury during the Falcons’ second preseason game against the New York Jets. If he clears waivers, he will go on the Falcon’s injured reserve list alongside tight end Beau Gardner and defensive tackle Ricky Havili-Heimuli.