Falcons named free agent landing spot for top QBs, WRs by PFF

NFL: SEP 24 Bills at Commanders

As the Falcons staff under Raheem Morris comes together, the imagination of fans is running wild discussing the possibilities of the draft and free agency.

Terry Fontenot will have the 8th overall pick, along with an arsenal of other selections, to build for the future. Given the potential run of quarterbacks with the first three picks, Fontenot very well could have a top 5 talent fall into his lap at the 8th pick.

In addition to the draft capital, the Falcons will have around $25 million in cap space before any moves. The figure could balloon to around $45 million by moving on from Jonnu Smith, Taylor Heinicke, Mike Hughes, and Lorenzo Carter. Without accounting for potential cap restructures, that would be around the 10th most cap space in the league.

The Falcons have enough wiggle room financially to be in on every significant free agent, which Brad Speilberger of PFF has them doing, naming Atlanta a free agent landing spot for a couple of the top quarterbacks and receivers in the upcoming free agent class.

2. QB Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Potential landing spot(s): Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders

Cousins should be able to go on another free agency tour as he did back in 2018 before signing a fully guaranteed three-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings. The Falcons jump out as a team that took the risk of not having a sure thing at quarterback in 2023, which ultimately got head coach Arthur Smith fired, and they may be just outside striking range for a top prospect with the No. 8 overall pick. They could also pair a developmental rookie with Cousins starting for a year or two.

Pittsburgh has said it’ll bring in competition for Kenny Pickett heading into 2024, but this wouldn’t be competition, it would be the starting job, so perhaps Cousins is too big a fish.

The Raiders also sit at the No. 13 overall pick, and veteran Jimmy Garoppolo appears to be on the way out after getting benched for rookie Aidan O’Connell. If new head coach Antonio Pierce wants to make Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers happy, perhaps he looks to make a splash.

The Falcons are going to be in on free agents, draft prospects, and trade candidates at the quarterback position. An upgrade is desperately needed, and Terry Fontenot may end up taking more than one swing.

A guy like Kirk Cousins on a two-year deal to pair with someone like J.J. McCarthy or Bo Nix wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. In fact, considering the options, it might be the best one. The Falcons are probably going to need a stopgap option, along with a long-term play.

Cousins is the top quarterback set to hit the free agent market, and it’s not particularly close. The Falcons could compete in the present as well as establish a plan for the future with one of the draft prospects.

63. WR Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills

Potential landing spot(s): Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars

Davis is a fit in Atlanta as a solid run-blocker who can also take the top off opposing defenses with one of the highest average depth of targets in the NFL, creating space for Drake London and Kyle Pitts. The Falcons need another playmaker in the passing game, and Davis offers value even on dropbacks where he is not targeted. Defenses were able to stack the box and condense their coverage formations this past season, though part of that was of course due to the quarterback play, but Davis would make them pay in 2024.

Jacksonville may move on from Zay Jones this offseason with an $8 million price tag on the way after he was extremely inefficient in 2023, so Davis fills the void left by another former Buffalo Bills wide receiver with a different skill set than Christian Kirk and Evan Engram, who will continue to benefit from having field-stretchers opposite them.

Gabe Davis is an underrated member of the Bills. Without him, defenses are able to focus on Stefon Diggs. His role is instrumental in Buffalo, and he could be a similar relief for the Falcons and Drake London.

His former teammates have spoken very highly about his competitive drive. His ability and willingness to accept any role should appeal to the Falcons with a new offensive coordinator in Zac Robinson.

68. QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Potential landing spot(s): Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos

The Falcons connection made more sense when former Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith was the head coach, but he is still nonetheless a bridge option akin to Andy Dalton signing a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers last offseason.

Denver may feel comfortable with Jarrett Stidham, who they gave a strong contract to last offseason, as the bridge to a rookie or backup to a veteran more along the likes of a Kirk Cousins, but Sean Payton will not sit on his hands.

If it’s not Kirk Cousins as a potential stopgap veteran, the Falcons don’t have a lot of intriguing options, and Ryan Tannehill is no different. The veteran hasn’t had a good season since former Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was his coordinator in Tennessee.

With the Titans, he experienced a career resurgence in 2019 and 2020. 2021 wasn’t as great but still productive. 2022 was quite disappointing. The Falcons would be better off with someone like Russell Wilson, who has offered better production more recently and would cost less than Tannehill.

116. WR Josh Reynolds, Detroit Lions

Potential landing spot(s): Atlanta Falcons, Washington Commanders

We must not let a tough outing in the NFC Championship Game from Reynolds distract us from the fact that he had a great season in Detroit, as he was always rock solid as a No. 3 receiver out wide who does well to find the soft spots in zones and can win at the intermediate levels. Reynolds was also an asset in the Lions’ run game.

This is another hypothetical connection between Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and his suspected new team, though we can’t be certain. Reynolds is one of the culture builder/leader types that would make a ton of sense for a new coach to bring along with him to a new stop.

A lot of Falcons fans may hate the idea of Josh Reynolds. After all, the Lions pass catcher dropped two critical targets on fourth downs in the NFC Championship, but look past that. As a third wideout, which will be necessary in Zac Robinson’s offense that prioritizes three receiver sets, Reynolds is more than equipped in that role.

Photographer: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire
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