In the last two games, the Falcons defense has surrendered late leads to the Vikings led by Josh Dobbs, who had less than a week of familiarity with Minnesota, and the Cardinals led by Kyler Murray, who made his 2023 debut.
Without Jarrett, Nielsen’s pass rush has fallen off a cliff, and that was only exacerbated when David Onyemata was ruled out of the contest on Sunday. The Falcons did acquire Kentavious Street at the trade deadline, which has turned into a positive acquisition, but the defensive front could still use bolstering.
One potential free agent target could be Akiem Hicks, who has had discussions with multiple teams as interest remains high, according to Jeremy Fowler.
Free agent defensive tackle Akiem Hicks has had discussions with multiple teams and interest remains high, but he has not made a decision whether to play this season, per source.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) November 15, 2023
Given Ryan Pace’s familiarity with Hicks due to their time in Chicago, I could see the Falcons being one of the clubs interested.
The former Bears defender totaled 30.5 sacks, appeared in a Pro Bowl and was heralded for his fierce competitiveness in the Windy City. He’s not going to provide much of a pass rush anymore, but the Falcons could still use a body in their defensive line rotation.
Most recently, he spent the 2022 campaign with the Buccaneers after missing 19 games in the final three seasons with the Bears. It’s not atypical for a big-bodied lineman to struggle with injuries, so he might not even be capable of stepping on a field anymore. It’s worth considering, though.
Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire