Falcons: Free Agent offensive guard options

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Even though the Falcons spent two first-round selections on offensive lineman in last year’s draft, there is still a need for a starting guard, as James Carpenter and Jamon Brown were not reliable in 2019. And with limited funds available for free agents, Falcons’ owner, Arthur Blank, stated that he expects the team to explore selecting an interior offensive lineman in the draft.

“We have another hole I think at left guard,” said Blank. “We have some talented young players there, but we’ll probably look at that position I assume during the draft.”

A ship goes where the captain takes it. And even if the team doesn’t select a guard during the draft, they will have to consider adding one in free agency. Blank rightfully sees the position as a weakness. Therefore, the front office will as well, and it is their obligation to generate various alternatives to a single problem (offensive guard).

Brandon Scherff

Scherff is the cream of the crop for this year’s shallow free agency class. The veteran right guard would have no problem transitioning back to the left side, where he played in college. He is excellent in pass protection and will command a hefty contract offer. However, Scherff is prone to injury, missing 15 games over the past three years, which would be one of the only points of leverage a team might have against Scherff during contract negotiations.

Graham Glasgow

Glasgow rounds out the top of the guard market. He is especially interesting — with experience at both guard and center — he can solve the issue of replacing Wes Schweitzer. Schweitzer is slotted to potentially start at guard while also being the backup center to Alex Mack. Signing Glasgow would be expensive but kills two birds with one stone. He could also be the replacement for Mack following the 2020 season when his contract is up.

Joe Thuney

I believe that Bill Belichick won’t let a player of Thuney’s caliber walk in free agency. He is as cerebral as they come on the offensive line. It was even reported that while taking the Wonderlic test during his draft evaluation that he avoided answering too many questions because he didn’t want to come off as too smart. The third-round pick has turned into a steadfast starter that hasn’t missed a game in four years. He is as good in pass protection as he is in the run game and would fit seamlessly in the Falcons’ offense. If New England were to let Thuney test free agency, he will bring in big offers from multiple teams.

Quintin Spain

Spain is coming off an impressive season on a one-year deal. The Falcons could get good value here since it is likely the Bills will not re-sign him. This should be questionable; if the Bills are disinterested, then why should he be on the Falcons’ radar. The answer is that the Bills are a run-centric football team and Spain lacks the run blocking skills that Buffalo seeks. However, he is an ace in pass protection, presenting the Falcons with a bargain option.

B.J. Finney

Finney only started four games in 2019 but played well enough in those outings to garner interest from other teams as a starter. He has experience at both guard and center, which solves the same conundrum that the Glasgow signing would. Finney would be a cheaper but riskier option for Atlanta.

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