Vaughn McClure of ESPN reports that the Atlanta Falcons have brought in free agent quarterback Rex Grossman to conduct a workout and physical today. ESPN’s Diana Russini first reported a week ago that there was interest between the Falcons and the 35-year old veteran quarterback. Per Russini, Grossman turned down an opportunity to play for the New York Jets because he wanted to be reunited with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta.
However, the AJC‘s D. Orlando Ledbetter followed up the next day to indicate that the interest between the team and the passer was one-sided, with the former lacking interest. Per Ledbetter, the team’s interest in Grossman has increase in the past week due to the struggles of backups T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree in the team’s second preseason matchup against the Jets last Friday.
Grossman played under Kyle Shanahan for four seasons with the Washington Redskins as well as one year with the Houston Texans in 2009. He was also brought into camp by the Cleveland Browns last summer when Shanahan took over play-calling duties there a year ago. Grossman’s time in Cleveland lasted a little less than three weeks before he was released. He’s garnered almost very little interest since being released by the Browns last August.
Grossman served as the Redskins’ primary starting quarterback in 2011, the year before they made the bold move to trade for signal-caller Robert Griffin III. That season also marked the last time that Grossman has played in a regular-season game. In 2011 Grossman started 13 games while passing for 3,151 yards, 16 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. That season also marked Grossman’s career-high by completing 58 percent of his passes. Grossman served as the Redskins’ third-string quarterback for two more seasons once Griffin and Kirk Cousins arrived in 2012.
Grossman first entered the NFL as a first-round pick of the Chicago Bears out of Florida in 2003. He played behind Chris Chandler and Kordell Stewart as a rookie but started the final three games that season. He took over the starting job in his second year in 2004, but that year was marred by injury as he only earned three starts before his season ended thanks to a torn ACL in his knee. He missed most of the 2005 with a broken ankle, with his only start and win coming that year against the Falcons late in the season. He rebounded in 2006, “shepherding” the Bears to a Super Bowl loss against the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning as the starter. Grossman started every game for the Bears that year, posting career-highs of 3,193 yards and 23 touchdowns.
After a rough start to the 2007, he was benched in favor of Brian Griese. He again lost the starting job in 2008 to Kyle Orton in what would be his last season with the Bears. He signed with the Texans the following offseason, serving as Matt Schaub’s backup. When he joined the Redskins in 2010, he was expected to be the backup behind Donovan McNabb, but managed to start the final three games of the season once McNabb was benched.
Should the Falcons add Grossman to the mix, he certainly brings a greater level of knowledge and experience in Shanahan’s offense and would instantly become the favorite to be Matt Ryan’s backup this season in Atlanta. Grossman’s addition would likely eventually lead to the release of Yates. It remains to be seen if Renfree would survive as the team’s third quarterback.