The Falcons have an important offseason ahead of them.
As the draft and free agency loom, Raheem Morris and Terry Fontenot will be tasked to fill out the roster at positions of need like cornerback, wide receiver, and on the edge.
More importantly, the new head coach and GM will have to find an upgrade at quarterback. Desmond Ridder isn’t the plan, so the solution will have to come externally. The Falcons have the cap space and draft capital to acquire a variety of options.
Before any of that though, Fontenot and Morris along with their respective staffs will assess the current roster and its impending free agents. So, ahead of that, let’s play a little game of Buy or Sell.
Calais Campbell, defensive end
Somehow, in his 16th season in the league, Campbell was tied for the team lead in sacks with 6.5, which is the highest mark since the 2019 campaign. He notably eclipsed the 100-sack threshold and is set to test free agency. Campbell started all 17 games, providing immense value on and off the field. He was expected to be a prime candidate to return on a new deal if Arthur Smith and Ryan Nielsen had retained their positions. That’s no longer the case, but it doesn’t phase my preference.
Bud Dupree, EDGE
Dupree was tied with Campbell as the team’s sack leader. After joining the Falcons on a one-year, $2.5 million deal, he enjoyed his best season since 2020. The Falcons need to upgrade the position; there’s no doubt about that. It might also be the most robust market in recent memory, featuring marquee names as well as cheaper but still productive options. There are free agents, trade targets, and draft prospects that can fill the void. The Falcons should come away with a couple of them.
Jeff Okudah, cornerback
After his first few starts, many Falcons fans were ready to extend Okudah, and they were right to think that at the time. However, Okudah dealt with similar struggles that have plagued him during his career — inconsistencies and injuries. Eventually, he was benched in favor of Clark Phillips, a rookie fifth-round pick. The chances of Okudah returning are slim.
Mack Hollins, wide receiver
Mack Hollins was brought in to be the WR2 behind Drake London. Coming off a career year in Las Vegas, Hollins only recorded 18 receptions for 251 yards after putting up nearly 700 yards on 57 catches with the Raiders last year. A lot could be attributed to the Falcons poor quarterback play, but even still, he’s unlikely to return. Maybe his special team’s value earns him another deal.
Kentavius Street, defensive tackle
The Falcons acquired Street from the Eagles, and he registered 14 tackles in five games. He had a career-high eight quarterback hits with the Saints in 2022. The Falcons may try to bring back the sixth-year defender as a depth piece, and I’d be all for it.
Cordarrelle Patterson, running back
Patterson had career-years in 2021 and 2022. The expectation was that would continue in 2023, but he only garnered 50 carries and nine catches, which was his lowest total since 2015. There’s certainly a role for Patterson in this league, but it shouldn’t be with the Falcons, even if he is a fan favorite.
MyCole Pruitt, tight end
Pruitt may follow his former head coach, Arthur Smith, to Pittsburgh. His nine-catch, 110-yard stat line from 2023 won’t be enough for the Falcons to ink him to a new deal.
Van Jefferson, wide receiver
Van Jefferson was acquired in a midseason trade with the Rams, so it’s possible that Zac Robinson values that familiarity. His speed should intrigue the Falcons with Drake London in the fold. He only had 12 catches in 12 games, but that was with Arthur Smith calling plays. In a position of need, Jefferson seems possible to return.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire