On Monday, Steve Wyche appeared on NFL Network and reported on several ongoing storylines regarding the Falcons offseason. Wyche said that Atlanta would make cap-saving moves to become “mid-market” shoppers in free agency. Those moves included potentially extending Grady Jarrett, Jake Matthews, and Matt Ryan while also trading Calvin Ridley away.
Another interesting piece of the report regards impending free agent Cordarrelle Patterson. The Falcons want to re-sign the 30-year-old former All-Pro, and they plan to use him as the model for free agents going forward.
— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) February 28, 2022
The biggest splash in free agency Terry Fontenot has made came in the form of a two-year, $5 million contract that brought Mike Davis back to his home state. It was also the only multi-year deal Fontenot handed out last offseason.
After signing a one-year, $3 million deal, Patterson over-performed and broke out in his ninth season. He led the team in rushing (618 yards) and total touchdowns (11) while racking up the third-most receiving yards (548). The Falcons’ investment in Patterson can only be seen as a resounding success for the front office, coaching staff, and Patterson himself.
Patterson has made it abundantly clear through multiple mediums that he’d like to retire with the Falcons, but the NFL is a business. Over The Cap has Patterson valued at $8.8 million, which should undoubtedly price him out of Atlanta. However, Wyche’s report suggests otherwise.
If cap dollars are so precious, spending them on an aging running back isn’t a wise use of that money. Making him one of the 15-highest paid running backs while the offensive line and defense need bolstering would be a gross misuse of cap dollars.
Even though the signing was a success initially, bringing Patterson back on a more lucrative deal doesn’t make sense at all. The initial plan was great, but forking over serious money to him is straying from the “model” that Fontenot seemingly wants to stick to.
Fontenot should try to find a similar opportunity for a player with a better chance of outplaying his contract figure. Patterson’s year will be memorable for many reasons, but unless he takes less money to stay in Atlanta, I wouldn’t sign him to a new contract.