Falcons Free Agent Targets 2023: Marcus Davenport

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The Falcons are set to have around $56 million in cap space this offseason, and that figure could quickly balloon to nearly $70 million if Atlanta parts ways with Marcus Mariota. There isn’t a single position group that doesn’t need top-end talent or depth. Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith are entering a critical juncture in their tenure with more cap space than ever. This continues a series of potential Falcons free agent targets, moving on to Marcus Davenport. Below are past editions:

Falcons Free Agent Targets 2023: Marcus Davenport

The Falcons have to add to the defensive front this offseason. It’s not a matter of if they’ll sign a defensive lineman; it’s a question of who they’ll sign, and Marcus Davenport is certainly a possibility, given his ties to the current Falcons defensive coordinator and former Saints co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen.

Davenport has dealt with injuries his entire career, which makes projecting his contract difficult. So, everything I am about to say should be taken with a grain of salt because of that variable. His physical talent is undeniable; Davenport is effective as a defender against the pass and run. The former first-rounder is probably a top-20 player at his position when healthy because of that well-rounded skill set.

The problem is that he hasn’t logged 600 snaps in a single season. He appeared in a career-high 15 contests this past season but only played 50% of the defensive snaps. Still, when he’s healthy, Davenport is impactful. Per PFF, “his 17.8% pass-rush win rate and 13.9% pressure percentage are both top-20 marks among edge defenders since he entered the league in 2018.”

Depending on where you look, the contract projections are more than palatable or stomach-turning. Spotrac has his market value at $93 million over four years, which is $23.2 million per year. Now, that’s a fair price if he’d been healthy and potentially even a bargain if he played every game. That just hasn’t been the case, though. Investing nearly $100 million in a player that hasn’t proven he can stay healthy isn’t smart, and it’s even dumber for a rebuilding team. The Falcons need someone who is available more than anything — best ability is availability.

On the flip side, PFF projects his contract to be one year, $12 million; that is something most Falcons fans would be interested in. It’s a much more acceptable figure for an injury-riddled player. Regardless of whether it’s Marcus Davenport or another, if the Falcons are going to invest a large amount of resources into someone, they better be available.

Photographer: Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

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