The Falcons made perhaps the most significant signing of the day besides Tampa getting some new QB, inking pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr to a 3-year deal. This is going to eat up most of Atlanta’s cap space, as I discussed earlier, but this team still needs a lot of help. A veteran CB and another DE are required additions, as well as another linebacker to compliment Deion Jones and potentially Foyesade Oluokun. So, who can the Falcons afford, and if they can afford them, who should they pick up?
Everson Griffen: SELL
Look, it pains me to type this. If the Falcons had space, pairing Griffen with Dante Fowler Jr would turn their porous 2019 defense into a force to be reckoned with overnight. The fact of the matter is — Atlanta can’t afford him. The four-time Pro Bowler has spent his entire ten-year career in Minnesota, and 74.5 sacks later, he’s hitting the open market. He’s had 13 as recently as 2017, and had a respectable eight last season. Griffen would fill a massive need for the Falcons, but coming off of a season in which he gave the Vikings a discount at $8 million, I doubt he’ll be doing the same for Atlanta.
Melvin Gordon: SELL
This is a guy I was selling hard before the Falcons paid Fowler. It had been reported Atlanta had an interest in Gordon, but now they can’t afford him anyway. The Falcons just finished overpaying one running back, let’s not jump into another lousy contract with a second one, shall we? Next.
Nickell Robey-Coleman: BUY
I already went into Robey-Coleman in-depth here, and I think he’s perfect for the Falcons. He only carried a $4.5 million cap hit for LA this season before they cut him, and he’s one of the better slot corners in the game. He’s a no brainer for a paper-thin secondary that got even thinner this offseason.
Jadeveon Clowney: SELL
The same boat as Griffen — an immensely talented athlete who would significantly improve this squad and be picture perfect next to Grady Jarrett, but Clowney is looking to get PAID and potentially reset the market. He’s coming off a season in which the Texans franchise-tagged (which he was vocally VERY unhappy about) & traded him to Seattle for some pieces and a 3rd round pick. He’s not a big numbers guy — only 32 sacks since being the #1 pick in the 2014 draft and has never had more than ten in a season but came close with 9.5 in 2017. But make no mistake, his impact is felt all over the field. He’s made three Pro Bowls and still hits like a freight train. His market hasn’t been what he had hoped, but the 27-year-old is going to get his money from SOMEBODY.
Brandon Carr: BUY
Carr wouldn’t be a horrible option, but he’s likely to command around the same as Robey-Coleman. After the now-famous Odell Beckham Jr. catch over him, he’s played for Baltimore the past three seasons and hasn’t missed a start since being a 5th round pick in 2008. His consistency is attractive, but he’s gone from 4 interceptions, to 2, to 0 while in Baltimore. INTs aren’t a tell-all for cornerbacks, but with Baltimore turning down his $7 million option for 2020 (to be fair to Carr, it saves them $6 million) — I’d rather have Robey Coleman. If Robey-Coleman is out of the Falcons price-range and receives a massive pay raise from $4.5 million, snagging Carr for around $4 million per year would be an excellent coup.
Devon Kennard: BUY
Another guy I went into detail on, cutting Kennard was a massive mistake by the Lions. He’s an above-average linebacker and would be an excellent addition if he’s looking to make around the $7 million he was going to fetch with Detroit last season. He might cost less De’Vondre Campbell, with more production. Kennard would fill a considerable hole in this linebacker unit while also supplying some pass rush — 14 sacks over his past two seasons. Adding guys who had 18.5 sacks combined last year to this defense in Kennard & Fowler would be massive.
Adrian Clayborn: BUY
It feels like every offseason the Falcons ink Adrian Clayborn to a one year deal. Hey, let’s do it again. After spending four of his last five seasons in Atlanta, Clayborn has become a rotational body. However, he knows this system & team well and has given the Falcons plenty every year at his price point. He managed to pick up four sacks last season (more than Takk McKinley), so he has some gas left in the tank. I would not be surprised at all if the Falcons inked him after 4:00 today.