Falcons: Ryan Kerrigan should be a priority target in free agency

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With news that his former defensive line coach Gary Emmanuel is joining the staff, Ryan Kerrigan becomes a very interesting name in free agency.

One week short of a year ago today, I wrote about how the Falcons should snag Ryan Kerrigan if he was cut by the Washington Football Team. From my profile:

 

Atlanta doesn’t have the luxury to go after top-tier free agents, so they will have to wait for things to play out a little before making their move. Ryan Kerrigan wasn’t on that list – because he’s not technically a free-agent – but he fits the mold of what the Falcons should be looking for ideally. He only notched 5.5 sacks and forced a fumble before going on IR after Week 14 last year (12 games). But Kerrigan has 90 sacks for his career and had 13 sacks in back-to-back years not long ago (2017 & 2018), and I don’t think he’s finished quite yet.

Excluding this last injury-riddled season, Kerrigan has never dipped below 7.5 sacks, 9 TFL, and 2 Forced Fumbles in a season (this was all in his rookie year.) Three times he has had over 13 sacks, and he recorded 10+ TFL every season from 2012-2018. Kerrigan led the league in TFL in 2016 with 18 and led the league in forced fumbles in 2014 with 5; he’s never really had a down year except for 2019.

 

Kerrigan only finished 2020 with 5.5 sacks, but his role has been diminished with the emergence of guys like Montez Sweat and Chase Young coming off of the edge. Kerrigan is a Washington legend, but I don’t see them bringing him back. His price tag should be much lower than the $11.7 million that he made this season, and he fits well into Dean Pees’ scheme. While Pees doesn’t run a traditional 3-4 at all times, Kerrigan has been in a 3-4 for basically all of his career. The connection with Emmanuel, scheme fit, the need for pass rushers in Atlanta, and hopefully the price is just way too perfect to not bring him in for a meeting this offseason.

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