Falcons extension candidates: Alex Mack

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As we enter our second installment of Falcons’ extension candidates, we take a look at a 34-year-old center that has been the heart of Atlanta’s offensive line ever since they signed him prior to the 2016 season. Immediately, his impact was felt, as the Falcons put together a historic offense in his first year with the team. While there have been inconsistencies across the line over the last three seasons, Mack and Jake Matthews have been the two constants. If you missed our first extension candidate, click the link below.

Alex Mack

Mack will probably go down in history as the best free-agent signing of the Thomas Dimitroff era. Up until last year, he was in the conversation for the best center in football. However, there was undoubtedly a bit of a drop off in 2019, his age 33 season, but that could have been due to a minor early-season elbow injury that he played through. Bye the end of the season, Mack was back looking like his typical dominant self. However, when you get to this point in a player’s career, it is typical for things to be taken year by year. 

Mack still believes he has a lot left in the tank, and that may be true, but the Falcons aren’t in the position to take many risks financially, and they may have just drafted his replacement. Matt Hennessy is a center out of Temple that was selected in the third round. He has a very similar athletic profile to Mack, and while he won’t start in front of Mack as a rookie, he could fill in as the first string center in 2021. Typically, that might agitate an aging veteran, but Mack is embracing his role as a mentor, doing whatever it takes to make sure Hennessy is ready when his time comes — a sign of a picture-perfect professional, which is what Mack has been his entire career. 

There’s a chance that Hennessy looks ready to assume the role as a starter in his second year, as Mack’s play continually declines. However, the Falcons also have a job open at left guard, one that Hennessy will be competing for as a rookie. If the coaches believe Mack still has a few years left in him, and Hennessy performs well at left guard, they may decide its best to extend Mack for at least another season. Or there’s the possibility that Hennessy proves he’s not ready at all, leaving the Falcons with no other choice but to stick with Mack, providing he still looks like an above-average center. There are several ways this could go, but Mack isn’t looking at it that way. He’s taking it year by year, and as long as he’s performing at the top of his game, he’s going to want to continue playing, whether it’s for the Falcons or not. 

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