Falcons will take ‘cautious’ approach towards free agency


Depending on the cuts that are made, the Falcons could have as much as $60 million to spend this free agency. Some of that will have to be spent on their own free agents – most notably – Grady Jarrett, who is set to earn a giant pay bump as an unrestricted free agent.

In talking to the media on Thursday, Dimitroff reiterated that re-signing Jarrett remains the number one priority for the Falcons this offseason.

Jarrett is coming off a Pro-Bowl caliber season at the defensive tackle position, posting career highs in sacks (6) and quarterbacks hits (16) along with 52 combined tackles, eight of which went for a loss. It’s not out of the question that Jarret could demand a number around $20 million annually, but given how poor Atlanta’s defensive line was last year, it would be excruciating to let him walk.

Dimitroff also included that extending Julio Jones is a top priority.

Beyond that, the Falcons should not have too many lucrative decisions to make concerning players that were on the roster last year. Tevin Coleman is likely to be on another team next Fall because of all the money the Falcons already have tied into Devonta Freeman and their offense in general. Bruce Irvin could be brought back on a team friendly deal along with several other players, but nothing that really eats into Atlanta’s cap space, leaving them with plenty of room to make some splashes in free agency.

With that said, Dimitroff said the Falcons will still be taking the ‘cautious’ approach to the free agent market.

For the most part, this appears to be nothing more than “coach speak”. The Falcons aren’t going to overpay for players just because they have the money, and no team should – but rest assured – they will be actively looking to improve in several ways via free agency.

Although, a couple of things to keep in mind is all the players the Falcons are going to want to re-sign in the coming years and the other players who are in line for pay increases. Deion Jones is set to hit unrestricted free agency next year. Keanu Neal’s fifth-year option is over nine million in 2020, and the Falcons will want to extend him after that. Matt Ryan’s cap hit is set to rise from $22.8 million in 2019 to $31.8 million in 2020 and $34.8 million in 2021. Julio Jones will want to be the highest paid receiver by then, so it makes sense that the organization would approach this summer with more caution to avoid putting themselves in a bind for the future.



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