Falcons post-draft free agent targets

dct211212062 bal at cle

The Falcons entered the offseason with more questions than answers on the roster. Terry Fontenot decided to approach the offseason much like last spring by signing a slew of veteran free agents to cost-effective deals to round out the roster. The Falcons then headed into draft season with as well balanced of a roster as possible and selected the best player available at each selection.

Atlanta came away with several immediate contributors — Drake London, Arnold Ebiketie, DeAngelo Malone, and Tyler Allgeier — that bolstered some of the team’s biggest needs. However, there are still holes across the depth chart.

The Falcons and Grady Jarrett agreed to a lucrative three-year, $51 million contract extension that lowered his cap hit this year to $12.9 million and saved the team $10.9 million.

As it stands right now, the Falcons currently sit with just under $16 million in cap space. After signing their draft class, Atlanta should have around $10 million to spend in free agency, given the league’s Top 51 rule. Here are a few players still available at positions the Falcons could bolster:

Wide Receivers

Will Fuller, Jarvis Landry, Albert Wilson, DeSean Jackson

Even though the Falcons made London the highest-drafted receiver, the depth is concerning. There isn’t an incredibly difficult learning curve at the position compared to quarterbacks, tackles, and corners — i.e., Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown, etc. So, I wouldn’t be shocked if London topped 1,000 yards and made a significant impact in 2022. Moreover, Arthur Smith’s heavy use of tight ends and Cordarrelle Patterson as a pass catcher should alleviate some of the pressure on the receivers.

However, the Falcons could still use another addition to the room. If London were to go down with an injury, Marcus Mariota would be throwing to the likes of Olamide Zaccheaus, Auden Tate, Damiere Byrd, KhaDarel Hodge, and Frank Darby — a very uninspiring unit. The Falcons would be well-served to add a reliable veteran.

Offensive linemen

Quinton Spain, Nate Herbig, Nick Easton, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Ryan Bates

In one of the more shocking offseason decisions, the Falcons elected not to bring in starting-caliber competition for Kaleb McGary, Matt Hennessy, or Jalen Mayfield. At the very least, I expected Terry Fontenot to bring in a veteran left guard to push the Falcons’ 2021 third-rounder. However, they seem content rolling with the same starting five as last season.

Though, if they weren’t, there are several free agents still on the market who could come in and provide valuable depth while still pushing Mayfield for the starting position. If Spain or Herbig were brought in, the former Michigan product’s future would be in serious doubt because those two could immediately start between Jake Matthews and Hennessy. However, the most likely outcome is the Falcons rolling Mayfield back out there to continue taking his lumps and developing.

Defensive Linemen/EDGE

Carl Nassib, Akiem Hicks, Melvin Ingram, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jerry Hughes, Carlos Dunlap, Justin Houston, Ryan Kerrigan, Eddie Goldman, Larry Ogunjobi

Much like the offensive line, the defensive front has young pieces that’ll need time to develop — i.e., Ta’Quon Graham, Ade Ogundeji, Arnold Ebiketie, and DeAngelo Malone. Still, the Falcons could use a veteran piece on the edge and interior. They expect significant contributions from these young defenders, but it would behoove Dean Pees to vocalize his need for more proven players. Any of the aforementioned free agents would immediately improve the front, but I wouldn’t hold my breath over the thought of adding one of these guys.

Photographer: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire




Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: