Falcons: Final 2021 NFL free agency big board

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Free Agency officially opens on March 17th, and this is undoubtedly a free-agent class the Falcons HAVE to hit on. I’ll be breaking down everything by positional groupings, then provide a final overall ranking.

Keep in mind that need will be heavily considered, so it isn’t a ranking of a player’s skill, it’s more tailored to what the Falcons need and the value they will provide. I didn’t bother with certain guys who I thought would be massive overpays with their projected contracts as well. There will be rankings amongst the position groups, then a bunch of players under “the rest” who I could be interested in. I’ll also be omitting free agents possibly leaving Atlanta, but some restricted free agents from other teams are included.

*All contract projections are via PFF and Over The Cap.

 

Quarterbacks & Skill Players:

1. TE Mo Alie-Cox (two years, $6 million)

2. RB Jamaal Williams (two years, $6 million)

3. TE Anthony Firkser (two years, $9 million)

4. QB Tyrod Taylor (two years, $10 million)

5. TE Robert Tonyan (two years, $6 million)

6. RB Marlon Mack (one year, $2.5 million)

7. TE Delanie Walker (one year, $3 million)

8. TE Gerald Everrett (three years, $15 million)

9. TE Jonnu Smith (four years, $38 million)

10. WR Taylor Gabriel (one year, $1 million)

 

I love what Mo Alie-Cox could bring to Atlanta, especially at his projected price-tag. He is incredibly athletic and one of the best blocking tight ends in football. If you want to read more about the former VCU basketball star — Alex wrote a profile on him fitting into Arthur Smith’s system. Firkser is similar; he’s not as good of a blocker, but he can serve as a versatile H-Back.

Robert Tonyan could provide terrific value, as he was one of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets this past season. His teammate may also pique the interest of Terry Fontenot, as pairing Jamaal Williams with a shifty back in the draft or Ito Smith would be fantastic, especially at that price. I don’t like to pay running backs, but Marlon Mack makes some sense. I had Gus Edwards listed here, but the Ravens placed a second round tender on him.

Perhaps Delanie Walker could revive his career once again by reuniting with Arthur Smith. I think Tyrod Taylor is the best option as a backup on the market now that Cam Newton has re-signed with the Patriots. I would hope to get Taylor on a one year deal, but he’s as solid as they come. I like Gerald Everett and Jonnu Smith a lot, but they both come with pretty hefty price tags at a position where other high-quality, cheap options are available. Taylor Gabriel already said he wants to come back to the Falcons, so I had to give my guy some shine.

 

The Rest:

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (one year, $10 million)

QB Mitchell Trubisky (two years, $15 million)

QB Jacoby Brissett (two years, $14 million)

QB CJ Beathard (two years, $6 million)

RB Matt Breida (one year, $2.5 million)

RB Mike Davis (two years, $8.5 million)

RB Le’Veon Bell (two years, $10 million)

RB Leonard Fournette (one year, $2.5 million)

RB Jerick McKinnon (one year, $2.5 million)

RB Mike Boone (one year, $1 million)

WR Mohamed Sanu (two years, $3 million)

WR Isaiah McKenzie (one year, $1.5 million)

WR AJ Green (two years, $20 million)

WR Rashad Higgins (two years, $10 million)

WR Kalif Raymond (one year, $1 million)

TE Hunter Henry (four years, $48 million)

TE Jacob Hollister (two years, $7.5 million)

TE Nick O’Leary (one year, $1 million)

 

Offensive Line:

1. C David Andrews (three years, $18 million)

2. C Corey Linsley (three years, $33 million)

3. G Joe Thuney (four years, $57 million)

4. C Austin Blythe (two years, $5.5 million)

5. C Austin Reiter (two years, $9.5 million)

6. C Ethan Pocic (one year, $1.125 million)

7. C Ted Karras (two years, $8.5 million)

8. C Ben Garland (one year, $2.25 million)

 

This is a position I’d be willing to spend big money on. Luckily for the Falcons, it is a pretty good class on the interior. I think David Andrews provides the best value, but Corey Linsley is easily one of the best centers in football. Adding Joe Thuney would give Atlanta one of the best guard tandems in the NFL. He’s only 28, an All-Pro, and has been whistled for just three penalties over the past two seasons. Additionally, he has guard and tackle flexibility. Austin Blythe has been back and forth, but he was fantastic last season. Reiter, Pocic, and Karras are all pretty good centers on reasonable deals. Garland, the former Falcon, was decent in a pinch for the 49ers.

 

Front Seven:

1. IDL Shelby Harris (three years, $33.375 million)

2. IDL Jurrell Casey (one year, $5 million)

3. EDGE Haason Reddick (one year, $8.5 million)

4. IDL Kawaan Short (one year, $6 million)

5. EDGE Ryan Kerrigan (one year, $5 million)

6. IDL Larry Ogunjobi (one year, $5 million)

7. EDGE Carl Lawson (four years, $55 million)

8. EDGE Bud Dupree (one year, $10 million)

9. LB Jayon Brown (four years, $47.5 million)

10. IDL Solomon Thomas (one year, $1 million)

 

The Rest:

IDL Dalvin Tomlinson (four years, $52.5 million)

IDL Sheldon Rankins (two years, $14.5 million)

IDL Lawrence Guy (one year, $7 million)

EDGE Trey Hendrickson (four years, $45 million)

EDGE Carlos Dunlap (two years, $10 million)

EDGE Jadeveon Clowney (one year, $13 million)

EDGE Derek Wolfe (two years, $14 million)

EDGE Jabaal Sheard (one year, $5 million)

LB Lavonte David (three years, $40 million)

LB KJ Wright (two years, $12 million)

LB Denzel Perryman (two years, $13 million)

LB BJ Goodson (two years, $6.5 million)

LB Jarrad Davis (two years, $6 million)

LB Raekwon McMillan (one year, $1 million)

LB Reuben Foster (one year, $1 million)

LB Anthony Walker Jr (two years, $8 million)

 

I already wrote about how Shelby Harris would be a perfect fit in Atlanta, and Jurrell Casey reuniting with Dean Pees would be beneficial as well. Haason Reddick is coming off of a career-year with 12.5 sacks; he would be well worth that contract. I talked about Gary Emanuel bringing in Kawaan Short, and I also discussed the merits of Ryan Kerrigan. Larry Ogunjobi played pretty well for the Browns. Bud Dupree would be okay on a one-year deal, and Jayon Brown is super underrated, but he’s expensive.

 

Secondary:

1. CB/S Desmond King (three years, $17.5 million)

2. CB Brian Poole (three years, $18 million)

3. S Malik Hooker (one year, $2 million)

4. S John Johnson III (four years, $52 million)

5. CB Cam Sutton (one year, $2.75 million)

6. S Anthony Harris (four years, $56 million)

7. S Marcus Williams (four years, $57 million)

8. S Lamarcus Joyner (two years, $10 million)

9. CB Troy Hill (two years, $10.5 million)

10. CB Mike Hilton (three years, $12 million)

11. S Duron Harmon (two years, $12 million)

 

The Rest:

CB Casey Hayward (two years, $19 million)

CB Justin Coleman (two years, $9 million)

CB Darious Williams (two years, $12 million)

CB Patrick Peterson (two years, $25 million)

CB Jason Verrett (two years, $10 million)

CB Quinton Dunbar (two years, $12 million)

CB Shaq Griffin (three years, $28.5 million)

CB William Jackson (three years, $40 million)

CB/S Xavier Woods (four years, $25 million)

CB Bashaud Breeland (two years, $10 million)

CB Mackensie Alexander (two years, $6 million)

CB K’Wuan Williams (two years, $8 million)

CB Terrance Mitchell (two years, $8 million)

CB AJ Bouye (one year, $2 million)

CB TJ Carrie (two years, $5 million)

CB Buster Skrine (one year, $2 million)

S Jaquiski Tartt (two years, $9 million)

 

I think Desmond King is incredibly valuable at that price; he can be moved all over the secondary. Nickel corner was a sore spot for the Falcons in 2020 and bringing Poole back to Atlanta would be interesting, but I’d like him at a lower cost than $6 million AAV. John Johnson III is one of the most underrated players in all of football; however, he may be too pricey for Atlanta’s budget. Malik Hooker has yet to stay healthy, but I would be over the moon if Atlanta snags him at his projected price point. Lamarcus Joyner isn’t the player he used to be, but he offers a ton of versatility. Troy Hill and Mike Hilton could both be really solid nickel pickups.

 

Final Big Board:

14. CB Cam Sutton

13. S John Johnson III

12. QB Tyrod Taylor

11. G Joe Thuney

10. EDGE Haason Reddick

9. S Malik Hooker

8. CB Brian Poole

7. RB Jamaal Williams

6. IDL Jurrell Casey

5. C Corey Linsley

4. TE Mo-Alie Cox

3. C David Andrews

2. CB/S Desmond King

1. IDL Shelby Harris

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