2023 NFL free agency: Falcons among teams that most need to make major moves

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The Falcons have the second most cap space in the NFL. The club already made a few free agent additions this offseason, with the most impactful being Lorenzo Carter, who inked a two-year deal to remain in Atlanta. 

Terry Fontenot has an excess of cap space, but there are plenty of areas on the roster that need addressing. After back-to-back 7-10 seasons while getting out from underneath a mountain of dead cap from the previous regime’s contracts, expectations are much higher entering Year 3 of the Arthur Smith era.

The Falcons will be able to field the most competitive roster yet under the new regime, so it’s no surprise they make NFL.com’s list of teams that most need to make major moves. 

“The Falcons have two significant factors working for them that put them on this list. One is they have just over $66 million in projected salary-cap space, second-most in the league, per Over the Cap. The other is they play in the worst division in football, the NFC South, and they have every reason to believe they can compete for that crown in 2023. Of course, the first thing Atlanta has to do is figure out the quarterback position. Veteran Marcus Mariota has been released, and Desmond Ridder showed some promise as a rookie last season. But the most intriguing possibility here is that the Falcons try to make a run at Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson. They are the team that makes the most sense in terms of pursuing such a trade — Atlanta has the eighth overall selection in this year’s draft, a head coach in Arthur Smith who operated a run-heavy offense last year and the cap space to pay Jackson big money — but a lot of dominoes have to fall in place before that happens.”

“Beyond chasing saviors under center, the Falcons have other pressing needs up and down the roster. They need more help at receiver, so a free agent like New England’s Jakobi Meyers could be attractive. The defense has to improve in all areas, especially in the interior defensive line and at safety. There will be a variety of options at both those positions in free agency. The Falcons ultimately have a luxury going into this offseason that every other NFC South team doesn’t: They aren’t trying to resolve a coming salary-cap deficit. Atlanta is in the best position to improve quickly after a 7-10 season that exceeded the expectations of most. The Falcons should capitalize.”

The Falcons are going to be big players in free agency, but I wouldn’t be so sure ‘major moves’ means a quarterback.

Lamar Jackson and the Falcons have been mentioned more times than I care to count, but that was put to bed this week. The Falcons will not be pursuing him, which leaves them with two options at quarterback. Sign a veteran to compete with Desmond Ridder, or make a move in the draft to select their guy.

I would bet the Falcons end up with Desmond Ridder under center in Week 1 with as complete of a roster surrounding him as possible.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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