The Falcons boast the second most cap space in the league, but the club won’t stray from its approach to free agency. Terry Fontenot has been heralded for his ability to find bargains on the market. He’s already done so several times as Falcons GM. Cordarrelle Patterson is the one that comes to everyone’s mind, but there are others who just haven’t produced in the same spotlight as Patterson.
The NFL free agency period often begins with a flurry of exciting deals to marquee players that set the market, but it’s the signings that don’t break the bank and have a high impact that make the real difference. Fontenot will be working to find the best bang for his buck — his buck is just a lot bigger this offseason. Here are some Falcons free agent targets that won’t cost an arm and a leg:
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB:
He’s not a household name, but Okoronkwo impressed with the Texans in 2022, despite playing less than half of the defensive snaps. The Falcons added Lorenzo Carter to the position group, but Okoronkwo would give the edge room substantial depth. He’s not the marquee pass rusher many are hoping for, but he has an excellent chance of outperforming his next contract, and that should be Terry Fontenot’s goal.
Cameron Fleming, OT:
The Falcons might have to replace Kaleb McGary this offseason, and Fleming is an option. He’ll be inexpensive and has positional flexibility, able to play on either side of the line of scrimmage. With the Broncos last season, he was a better pass protector than a run blocker but was more than serviceable in both. He’s got a high floor that could be a stopgap option until the Falcons find a long term answer at right tackle.
Isaiah Wynn, OT:
When he’s healthy, the former 2018 first-rounder is a starting-caliber tackle, which is hard to come by in today’s NFL. He is still only 27 years old, so the Falcons could sign him to see if he can bounce back from a bumpy couple of years at the beginning of his career. Kaleb McGary is set to hit the open market and will be garnering a significantly more expensive contract than Wynn. Wynn could serve in a similar role as Fleming as a stopgap if the Falcons would rather develop a right tackle instead of buying one.
Bryce Callahan, CB:
There are actually a ton of options for the Falcons to fill the vacant nickel role. Atlanta could re-sign Isaiah Oliver, spend big on Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, or draft someone like Mekhi Blackmon or Clark Phillips III. Bryce Callahan could be a cheaper option. He’s 31 and has battled injuries, so that could turn the Falcons away, but when he’s healthy, Callahan is very effective working in the slot.
Arden Key, DE:
Key is someone I’ve voiced my support for in the past. He revitalized his career in 2021 with the 49ers, then followed it up with another productive season with the Jaguars in 2022. Over those two seasons, he’s posted 90 combined quarterback pressures and registered 11 sacks.
“Key’s 14.6% pressure percentage over the past two seasons ties for 17th among edge defenders, and he’s still an ascending player with the ability to rush the passer from all over the defensive line,” per PFF.
The Falcons have to add to the defensive front, and though Arden Key isn’t an elite pass rusher, he’s more than capable of contributing in a big way and can play multiple positions along the front.
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