Falcons: 2021 free agents to avoid (Offensive Skill Players)

2582012130045 gb at det

We’re making this a big series, and while you should stay tuned for my big board for every free agent target coming in mid-March before free agency opens, there are plenty of names the Falcons should be wary of handing money to. I’m a card carrying member of the “never pay a running back club”, so expect a lot of big names there. Offensive line, defensive front seven, and secondary are up next — so stay tuned! All contract projections are via PFF.



Of course, these are all backup quarterbacks, but Atlanta will need to fill this void after Matt Schaub‘s retirement and the waiving of Kurt Benkert. Even if Atlanta does select a quarterback fourth overall, there will still need to be another warm body in the quarterback room.


Andy Dalton (two years, $10 million)

Ryan Fitzpatrick (one year, $10 million)

Jameis Winston (one year, $7 million)

Jacoby Brissett (two years, $14 million)


Andy Dalton really doesn’t provide much, even on a contract only paying him $5 million AAV. I love Ryan Fitzpatrick, but $10 million is too rich for my blood. I honestly don’t think Jameis is that bad of a quarterback, but he will get a starting gig in my opinion. I like Brissett as well, but he is too expensive. Atlanta would be much better rolling with Cam Newton, and I talked about that here. If Newton does find himself starting, CJ Beathard or Tyrod Taylor would be the next two logical choices — preferably Taylor. And yes,  I would be okay with Mitchell Trubisky.


Running Back:

Aaron Jones (four years, $52 million)

Chris Carson (three years, $30 million)

Kenyan Drake (three years, $20 million)

James Conner (three years, $20 million)


Look, I could go on forever, but I don’t want Atlanta to hand out a big contract to a running back, and I don’t think they will. I’d rather roll the dice on Le’Veon Bell, Mike Davis, Marlon Mack, or Jamaal Williams on a one year, cheap pact.


Wide Receiver:

Will Fuller V (five years, $87.5 million)

JuJu Smith-Schuster (four years, $68 million)

Sammy Watkins (three years, $27 million)


No worries here, I seriously doubt Atlanta brings in a wide receiver with their limited space and rostered talent at the position. However, these three guys would be the biggest overpays, especially JuJu. I’d much rather call up Taylor Gabriel, Rashad Higgins, or Kendrick Bourne.


Tight End:

Jared Cook (one year, $5 million)

Trey Burton (one year, $3 million)

Marcades Lewis (one year, $2 million)


Not a lot of names I dislike on this list, I just think better options are available. Old friends of Arthur Smith — Anthony Firkser and Jonnu Smith — stand out to me, along with Gerald Everett. Atlanta still needs to see what they have with Hayden Hurst, as his fifth year option status remains unclear.

Photo: Steven King/Icon Sportswire

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