Atlanta Falcons sign Matt Ryan's backup QB

The Atlanta Falcons have found the projected backup quarterback to starter Matt Ryan by signing free agent A.J. McCarron to a one-year deal, the team announced Friday. 

The Falcons entered the NFL draft with only Ryan on their depth chart at the position, and they selected Florida tight end Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 overall pick on Thursday night.

SEE ALSO: Falcons select Kyle Pitts in first round of NFL Draft

With so many highly rated quarterbacks, there was plenty of speculation that Atlanta might go with Ryan's eventual successor. Instead, they added a 6-foot-6, 246-pound player who gives the 35-year-old quarterback another dynamic weapon in an offense that already has receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.

"I've been waiting for that call my whole life," Pitts said. "I can't wait to get to Atlanta."

The Falcons finished with a record of 4-12 for the 2020 season, which marked the team's third straight losing season. The Falcons No. 4 overall pick was the franchise's highest draft pick since Matt Ryan was chosen at No. 3 in 2008. 

McCarron, who was a backup in Houston the last two seasons, brings veteran experience to the Falcons quarterback room. 

The Falcons could still add a developmental player at quarterback in the NFL draft.

McCarron, from Alabama, was a 2014 fifth-round draft pick by Cincinnati. He has completed 109 of 174 passes for 1,173 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions in 17 career games with the Bengals, Raiders and Texans. 

McCarron started three games for the Bengals in 2015 and one game for Houston in 2019. He completed his only pass for 20 yards while appearing in two games with the Texans in 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.