With the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl, the NFL offseason has officially begun for all 32 teams, but the Falcons have already begun their process.
It began with firing Arthur Smith, completing an extensive head coaching search, hiring Raheem Morris, and filling out his Atlanta staff. Now, Terry Fontenot and the Falcons new head coach will assess the current state of the roster and other housekeeping items.
A.J. Terrell’s contract extension and Kyle Pitts’ fifth-year option are on the docket. Impending free agents like Calais Campbell will need new offers, if the 37-year-old decides to return to football for one more season.
Then, free agency and the draft will be here. The Falcons are set to have around $25 million in cap space, but that figure could easily balloon to $45 million without any restructures. Parting ways with Taylor Heinicke, Jonnu Smith, Mike Hughes and Lorenzo Carter could save the Falcons around $20 million against the cap.
Past free agency, the Falcons will have the 8th pick in the draft, along with their full allotment of selections and possibly more depending on Calvin Ridley’s situation with the Jaguars. The club already has an extra third-round pick, but that could turn into a second-rounder if Jacksonville and Ridley agree to a contract extension.
Regardless of where they go in free agency or the draft, the quarterback has to be the priority. In Sports Illustrated’s latest mock draft, the Falcons take their fourth consecutive skill player in the top 10, landing Malik Nabers, while addressing the signal caller void in a trade, sending the Bears a second-round pick for Justin Fields.
“After trading for Fields in this mock scenario, the Falcons don’t have to reach for a quarterback here,” Sports Illustrated wrote. “A stud pass rusher is tempting, but if Nabers is still on the board (he shouldn’t be), he’d be too much to pass up. Adding his explosiveness and big-play ability to an offense with Fields, Drake London, Bijan Robinson and Kyle Pitts would be fun to watch.”
Pairing Nabers with Drake London and Kyle Pitts would give the Falcons the best young core of pass catchers in the NFL. The LSU product is the Tigers’ all-time leading receiver, recording over 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons.
Malik Nabers would also be the perfect complement to Pitts and London. His ability to take the top off of defenses, threaten after the catch, and work out of the slot should have the Falcons salivating with Zac Robinson calling plays. It really would be an ideal fit.
Justin Fields has been and will continue to be linked to Atlanta. Whether a trade comes to fruition is another thing entirely, though.