The Falcons announced on social media Monday that first-round draft pick Michael Penix Jr. has officially signed his rookie contract with the team.

The No. 8 pick in the 2024 NFL draft signed a four-year, $22.88 million deal with a $13.46 million signing bonus. It was previously reported that the parties had agreed on the contract.

The Falcons previously signed rookie outside linebacker Bralen Trice, who was drafted in the third round (74th overall) of the NFL draft. He signed a four-year contract worth $5.9 million May 17. His deal included a signing bonus of $1,121,379.

The Falcons flipped the draft upside down by selecting Penix at No. 8 overall after signing veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency to a contract worth up to $180 million.

Most were projected to help the defensive pass rush.

Falcons national scout Joel Collier brought back the initial report that would lead the team to draft Penix with the eighth overall pick.

Once Collier’s work hit Flowery Branch, the information was cross-checked.

“Shoot, that goes back to, all of our guys in this draft, that goes back to the year before,” Falcons assistant general manager Kyle Smith said. “So, our guys will start evaluating the players for next year’s draft at the end of May here. So, Joel was the guy who really liked Penix.”

Dwaune Jones and Ruston Webster (a former general manager with the Titans) and others, cross-checked Collier’s information.

After the college season and the all-star games, the scouts came off the road for the February meetings at the team’s headquarters.

In the 2021 draft, the Falcons passed on quarterbacks Justin Fields and Mac Jones after Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance were selected Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

In 2022, the Falcons passed on Kenny Pickett and made Desmond Ridder the second quarterback taken, with the 74th overall pick in the third round.

Last year, the Falcons passed on Will Levis.

The Falcons had Penix rated as the second-best quarterback prospect in the draft this year. Caleb Williams went No. 1 overall to Chicago. Jayden Daniels went to Washington at No. 2 and Drake Maye went No. 3 to New England.

Penix started his career in the Big Ten. At Indiana, he suffered injuries and missed 21 games over four years. Over his two years at Washington he posted a 25-3 record.

He guided the Huskies to the College Football Playoff and posted a win over Texas to reach the CFP Championship game, where they were mauled by Michigan.

The Falcons went to Seattle to work out Penix on April 5.

The Falcons selected offensive players in tight end Kyle Pitts (fourth overall), wide receiver Drake London (eighth) and running back Bijan Robinson (eighth) in the three previous drafts and apparently now have their quarterback of the future after Cousins.

Penix is 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds.

The Falcons sent a sizable entourage, including general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Raheem Morris, to Seattle to hold the private workout with Penix.

The Falcons made a similar trip to Austin, Texas, before selecting Robinson last year.

John Nagy, the executive director of the Senior Bowl, noted that the Falcons had been doing a lot of work on Penix.

Cousins is coming off Achilles surgery and is set to turn 36 before the season starts.

Penix, turns 24 in May, would serve at least a couple of years under Cousins before taking over in a transition.

Penix finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting last season and eighth in 2022.

Penix passed for 13,741 yards, 96 touchdowns and 34 interceptions over his college career. He completed 63.6% of his passes and had a career passing rating of 146.6.

The private workout was a follow-up visit for the Falcons, who met with Penix at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Penix had 36 touchdown passes last season. Like Cousins, he’s more of a pocket passer.