William McFadden of the Atlanta Falcons team site recently sat down one-on-one with Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff and talked about a number of issues leading into the NFL Combine. To watch the full interview, click here.
There were plenty of intriguing points, but one thing that popped out like an ambulance siren when you’re driving down the road was Dimitroff’s response to McFadden’s question regarding the offensive line. Going into next season, the Falcons look to have four spots locked down. Jake Mathews and Alex Mack are the veterans of the group at left tackle and center respectively, and the right side of the line features two first-round picks from last year — Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary — who by the end of the year, seemed to find their footing and thrive. However, the left guard position is up in the air, and based on the performances from last year; it would seem like a given they bring in at least one competent body, whether it be via the draft or free agency. However, from Dimitroff’s answer, that may not be the case, as he said Jamon Brown, James Carpenter, and Matt Gono will all be competing for the starting spot at left guard.
Now, the statement could very much be coach speech. It doesn’t mean the Falcons won’t be drafting or signing another interior offensive lineman to compete with him. Considering Alex Mack’s contract is up at the end of the year, I’d be pretty shocked if they didn’t. But what I do take from this is that James Carpenter and Jamon Brown will both be on the roster next year.
Brown being released was never really an option. He was foolishly signed to a three-year contract and would actually have a more significant cap hit if they cut him rather than just keeping him, but Carpenter looked to be a man on the chopping block. However, with there likely being no Post-June 1st cuts, the Falcons can only save a little over $1 million by releasing him. Given how porous the offensive line was last season, it probably wouldn’t be wise to let him go over that amount of money.
The vital takeaway from this is Jamon Brown and James Carpenter were not one-year mistakes, but two-year mistakes. Those who looked at the numbers always kind of felt that way, but this interview pretty much confirms that. The only thing I hope going forward is that Dimitroff doesn’t double down on his incompetent signings by not bringing in a legitimate starter that can win the job.