Falcons 2020 first-round pick among NFL’s top 2025 free agent

NFL: OCT 15 Commanders at Falcons

The Falcons came into the offseason with one clear objective — fix the quarterback position.

From the top down, the organization was aligned. Arthur Blank, Terry Fontenot, and Raheem Morris went out and acquired the top signal caller on the market, agreeing to a four-year deal worth $180 million with Kirk Cousins. The Falcons got their guy.

However, it was far from the only hole the new coaching staff needed to fill. Fontenot worked quickly, inking Darnell Mooney to a three-year deal, filling the team’s second-most pressing need. Still, there’s more to do for Atlanta’s GM, specifically on the defensive side of the ball.

The Falcons have an underwhelming EDGE room. Arnold Ebiketie, DeAngelo Malone, and Lorenzo Carter might be the worst unit in the league. The cornerback group looks better because of A.J. Terrell, but that position could also use some bolstering.

Moreover, there are other housekeeping items. Kyle Pitts’ fifth-year option will be exercised at some point before the beginning of May. It’s not a question of if the Falcons pick up the 2021 first-round pick’s fifth-year option; it’s a question of when they do it.

Additionally, A.J. Terrel’s contract extension is looming. ESPN recently did a piece on the 2025 free agency, with Atlanta’s 2020 first-round pick among defensive players who are set to get paid.

Heading into his prime playing years and turning 26 early in the 2024 season, Terrell has the physical traits and coverage ability to command top-of-the-market money at the cornerback position. While I’d like to see more takeaways from Terrell (only four career interceptions), he has 36 pass breakups over his four pro seasons.

I highly doubt Terry Fontenot lets Terrell even sniff free agency. It would be a grave mistake. He’s a pillar of this team at one of the most important positions in the game. The best thing teams can do in free agency is nothing because they spend all of their money retaining stars instead of acquiring them from other clubs. There’s no doubt that a deal will get done at some point, but what would it look like?

Last year, it was Chris Lindstrom up for a new contract, who the Falcons made the highest-paid guard in the league. Like Linstrom, Terrell has earned All-Pro honors. Though he hasn’t replicated that incredible 2021 campaign in 2022 or 2023, it’s important to remember how volatile cornerback play can be compared to offensive guards. Terrell is in line for a significant payday.

Here are some contracts that the Falcons will consider when discussing a potential contract extension via Spotrac:

1 Denzel Ward 24 5 (Value) $100,500,000 (AAV) $20,100,000 (Sign. Bonus) $20,000,000 (Guaranteed @ Sign.) $44,500,000 (Practical Guaranteed)$71,250,000
2  Marshon Lattimore 25 5 $97,603,000 $19,520,600 $7,500,000 $34,103,000 $58,103,000
3   Marlon Humphrey 24 5 $97,500,000 $19,500,000 $20,000,000 $40,324,566 $67,324,566
4   Trevon Diggs 25 5 $97,000,000 $19,400,000 $21,250,000 $33,304,000 $42,304,000

Spotrac projects Terrell’s market value just under Denzel Ward’s $20.1 million average annual value at $19,881,869 per year over four years for a total of $79,527,476.

I’d expect the Falcons to give Terrell a four or five-year deal worth anywhere from $19 to $20 million per year. Atlanta didn’t pinch pennies with Lindstrom, I doubt they do with Terrell. Jaylon Johnson’s four-year, $76 million deal is might be a good benchmark. That’s $19 million a year and puts Johnson right around the top 10 in terms of the highest-paid cornerbacks, which is right around where Terrell should be.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: