Bleacher Report is buying what the Falcons did in free agency

NFL: NOV 20 Bears at Falcons

The Falcons’ offseason, like everything this franchise does, has come with mixed reviews.

The two biggest contracts handed out in free agency were met with polarizing reactions from the general public, and maybe some Falcons fans too. Kirk Cousins and Darnell Mooney’s contracts combined for more than $200 million and filled the team’s two biggest holes.

$180 million over four years for the veteran signal caller, and $39 million over three years for the young pass catcher. Some will point to Cousins’ age, Achilles injury, and lack of postseason success as reasons for considering it an overpay. While others would point to Mooney not eclipsing 500 yards in each of the last two seasons as a reason for not liking his deal.

On the other hand, the going rate for a top 10 quarterback in today’s game is between $40 and $45 million. Make no mistake about it. Cousins was playing at an elite level before going down with a season-ending injury last year, on pace for 40 touchdowns and 5,000 yards. The Falcons may have slightly overpaid, but Terry Fontenot did whatever he had to do to get their guy.

As for Mooney struggling to produce, it’s not fair to expect because Fields regularly threw for less than 200 yards, and with D.J. Moore in the fold, Mooney was relegated to a lesser role. Also, $13 million per year is the going rate for a WR2 in this league.

You could pick apart any free agent deal if you wanted, but Bleacher Report is buying what the Falcons did in free agency.

Total Spent in Free Agency: $240.4 million

It’s hardly a surprise that the Atlanta Falcons are kicking off this column, or that no team in the league spent more in free agency.

After all, the Falcons were responsible for the biggest contract in free agency in terms of both total cash and average annual salary.

The four-year, $180 million pact they gave Kirk Cousins has been the subject of no shortage of discussion. But it was also the foundation of Atlanta’s entire offseason.

Head coach Raheem Morris told reporters that making sure the quarterback had sufficient weaponry around him was as important as signing the 35-year-old himself:

“I thought it was really important that we get threats on all three levels of the field. Drake (London) provides such a good threat from an underneath standpoint, from a high cross standpoint, from the stuff that he can really do. I thought] putting pieces around him — like the (Darnell) Mooneys, like the Rondale Moores, some of the guys we brought back. … I think those guys fit well within that room. You have to add to it their coach, Ike Hilliard, and some of his beliefs and what he’s done in the past.”

Giving Mooney $13 million per season was an aggressive move for a player who barely topped 400 receiving yards last year, but the Falcons did next to nothing to address the defense.

And while Cousins is an upgrade under center, whether he’s the type of signal-caller who can single-handedly change the trajectory of a franchise is up for debate.

However, Atlanta went from also-ran to potential favorites in the NFC South the moment Cousins came to town and that has to count for something.


Don’t get me started on the defense. The Falcons signaled to the rest of the league they’ll be competing in this window with Kirk Cousins but have yet to sign a free agent on the defensive side of the ball.

Atlanta has to bolster the roster in all facets if they seriously plan to contend. Cousins’ struggles in the postseason are overblown, but this Falcons team, as currently constructed, isn’t winning any playoff game.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire


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