The Falcons have completely revamped their roster this offseason, adding playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Finally out from underneath the mountain of dead cap incurred by parting ways with franchise greats like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, Terry Fontenot was able to participate in free agency without limitations.
However, if there’s one glaring hole, it’s at receiver. Drake London will establish himself as a bonafide WR1 this year, but it’s quite bleak after that. Mack Hollins has received a ton of praise from Josh McDaniels, and Scotty Miller has a proven track record.
Still, those aren’t inspiring options as a WR2. So, what can the Falcons do? How about signing DeAndre Hopkins? ESPN recently compiled a list of the best fits for Hopkins, with Atlanta falling under a “wild-card team.”
“Atlanta has been unafraid to spend this offseason while enjoying the fruits of a quarterback on a rookie contract,” ESPN writes. “Its pass-catching core is young, but the presence of Hopkins could spice up Arthur Smith’s offense. Like Cleveland, Atlanta GM Terry Fontenot has aggressively pursued signings and trades over the past three months.”
The Falcons currently hold about $10 million in cap space, according to Spotrac, but that wouldn’t be the biggest hurdle in a potential deal. There are numerous ways the Falcons could afford Hopkins — i.e., void years, restructure current contracts to create more cap space, etc.
The 30-year-old Hopkins is a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and likely headed for the Hall of Fame, but his career is winding down. It makes sense he would join a contender to chase a ring. However, the Patriots and Titans aren’t challenging for a Lombardi, and Hopkins has taken free agent visits to those teams.
The Calais Campbell signing proved these Falcons aren’t the same Falcons from years past. It should be considered a free agent destination, and Hopkins may not be interested in playing with Desmond Ridder, but Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot could use a similar recruiting pitch with Hopkins as they did with Campbell, sitting him down and watching film on Ridder.
DeAndre Hopkins might be entering the twilight years of his career, but he’s still widely productive. He possesses elite body control and awareness as well as alignment versatility. He averaged nearly 80 yards per game last year with the Cardinals, which would be about 1,350 yards across 17 games.
His play style should age well. He was never the running by defenders downfield. He’s a consistent chain-mover with excellent hands, body control, and an impressive catch radius. It’s a very similar brand of football that Drake London plays.
The Falcons’ skill group would immediately be in the conversation for the best in football if the team signed DeAndre Hopkins. It might not be realistic, but it’s time to start asking, “Why not the Falcons?” in these free agent discussions.
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