Falcons: Free-agent cornerback options

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The Falcons approach to new free agents boils down to whether they re-sign Austin Hooper, who some believe will fetch $13 million or more per year this offseason. Atlanta needs help in the trenches first and foremost, but pass rushers do not come cheap in free agency, so they may very well turn to the Draft to find one this offseason, leaving money to spend on other areas of need — like cornerback. Personally, I am a believer in having six serviceable corners. As things stand, Desmond Trufant is the only consistent option the Falcons have, and they are putting too much pressure on their young corners to produce out of the gate. I cannot predict how they will go about filling all their needs, but there are some free-agent cornerbacks that will fit the Falcons budget.

Brian Poole

A familiar face. Parting ways with Brian Poole last offseason may be one of the dumbest transactions I have ever seen an NFL team make. The Falcons let Poole, who was — at the very least — a serviceable starter for them, walk over his chump change salary. Poole signed on with the Jets and was incredible, grading out as a 79, according to Pro Football Focus, while the Falcons made Damontae Kazee switch from safety to nickel, which… didn’t work. Kendall Sheffield ended up closing out the season in that role.

Hopefully, there is no bad blood after the team parted ways with him. Poole was excellent for the Jets, but it’s not like he is going to get Revis money. He is a realistic target, but apparently, the Falcons don’t value him nearly as much as other teams may.

Tramaine Brock

Brock is a quality veteran the Falcons can sign at a reasonable cost. He was cut by the Cardinals midseason, but joined the Tennessee Titans and helped them bolster their defense for a playoff run. However, Pro Football Focus actually had him graded as Arizona’s best corner despite being banged up midseason, and was the best defensive player in the Titans’ upset victory against the Patriots. Brock was a longtime 49er when they were playoff regulars, so he has a ton of experience. Bringing in a veteran body on a reasonable deal is precisely what the Falcons need here.

Jimmy Smith/Brandon Carr

The Ravens are going to have to let one of their corners go this offseason. Jimmy Smith is a free agent, and if Baltimore brings him back, it is a given they will decline their team option on Carr. Both of these guys bring different things to the table but could help solidify the Falcons’ secondary. Smith would immediately walk in as the Falcons’ top corner, but his price tag, while somewhat hefty, should not be too demanding given his age and injury history.

Not exactly music to your ears, I know, but Smith will be 32 and has not played over 12 games in a season since 2015. With that being said, when he is out there, he is a long corner that plays at a high level. An incentive-based deal would be ideal.

Carr offers the exact opposite. He should be had at a reasonable cost, and while he can play at a starter level in this league, he is not quite Jimmy Smith. But for a Falcons team that has had so many injuries on defense, Carr defines a model of consistency. He has not missed a game his entire career, making 192 consecutive starts dating back to 2008. If the Falcons are looking for a reliable, low-cost corner, who can offer depth and experience, Carr is just that.

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