The Falcons are still scouring the free agent market following the NFL Draft, able to do so after a recent contract extension with Grady Jarrett created nearly $11 million in cap space.
Most recently, Atlanta completed a visit with veteran linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski on Thursday, according to Tom Pelissero. The Falcons are one of three teams the former Bear is considering, and his decision remains imminent.
Veteran LB Nick Kwiatkoski visited the #Falcons today, per source. He has two other visits lined up and should sign somewhere soon.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 5, 2022
It seems the Falcons are assembling the roster that Ryan Pace had in Chicago, but Kwiatkoski’s most recent stint came in Las Vegas. After being drafted by the Bears and the subsequent four seasons, he signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Raiders during the 2020 offseason.
Kwiatkoski certainly earned that contract at the time, since he was excellent and playing at a Pro Bowl-caliber level in 2017. However, he finished his Raiders career on the injured reserve and was released earlier this offseason. He’s certainly one of the best players at his position left in free agency, but Atlanta doesn’t necessarily have the space for a starting-caliber linebacker.
Despite losing Foye Oluokun to the Jaguars in free agency, the Falcons have done more than enough to bolster the unit. Atlanta signed Rashaan Evans and drafted Troy Andersen in the second round of last month’s draft. They join Deion Jones and Mykal Walker to make up a more than adequate core linebacking group.
The prospect of Kwiatkoski joining the team sparks skepticism over Debo’s future in Atlanta. The Falcons could save considerable cap dollars with a post-June 1st trade but wouldn’t net anything more than a conditional sixth or seventh round pick, I imagine. Still, Terry Fontenot is on a mission to clear the books of any bad contracts the former regime passed along, and I’d imagine letting go of Jones is the final piece of that task.
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