The Falcons have some big holes to fill in free agency, and while a lot of these names aren’t awe-inspiring, Atlanta could snag some serious depth by adding some old friends. I won’t be including any players leaving during THIS free agency period. I also will be omitting certain names available. Atlanta can create a decent amount of money to use in free agency, but none of these guys should be too expensive anyways.
RB Tevin Coleman
I will forever pat myself on the back for calling that paying Devonta Freeman was a mistake, and Atlanta should have given Tevin Coleman the two years and $10 million he received in free agency. Nevertheless, I don’t think paying him now is a bright idea. Maybe on a very small one year pact, but he was shuffled back in San Francisco and only appeared in eight games in 2020 due to knee problems, averaging 1.9 yards per carry.
WR Taylor Gabriel
Turbo has already expressed interest in returning to Atlanta on Twitter, and I think he’s the perfect lottery ticket wide receiever to bring back into camp. Like Kyle Shanahan, Arthur Smith would maximize his skill set, potentially acting as a poor man’s A.J. Brown. Pairing him with Russell Gage in the slot is very enticing and adds yet another layer to the offense.
WR Mohamed Sanu
I absolutely love Mo Sanu. I can’t even tell you why. He was just a great Falcon. While I want to keep Laquon Treadwell around for at least another season, Sanu could provide exceptional depth behind Calvin Ridley in a place where he had his best years.
IOL Ben Garland
Garland was a cut by the Falcons, and he immediately went over to Kyle Shanahan and had a productive year en route to the Super Bowl. Injuries limited him in 2020 (like most of the 49ers), but he was solid when he was on the field. He could be a cheap flier to potentially fill in for Alex Mack or James Carpenter. With center especially, I’d rather just pay big money to a player like Corey Linsley if the team wants to go that route.
EDGE Bruce Irvin
Bruce Irvin may just retire, but he did have 8.5 sacks after leaving Atlanta for Carolina in 2019. I wouldn’t be too mad bringing him in as a cheap rotational pass rusher, but I think the money can best be spent elsehwhere.
LB De’Vondre Campbell
De’Vondre Campbell had a bit of an awkward exit from Atlanta, and he was not good at all for Arizona. Dean Pees and Vance Joseph run relatively similar schemes — which is another red flag. Unless he is dirt cheap, I think Atlanta is pretty solid at linebacker until the draft.
CB Brian Poole
Poole is probably the player I want back the most on this list. Another bad personnel mistake by the past regime was letting him walk. Alex wrote a great piece on a possible Poole reunion:
Poole played under Greg Williams the past two seasons in one of the most aggressive defenses in the NFL. A defensive scheme based on disguising coverages and blitzes by having all three levels of defenders moving pre-snap. Poole thrived in this system, requiring him to not only defend the pass and run but also blitz from the slot. Dean Pees runs a similar style of defense where Poole could be tasked with the same responsibilities. At such an undervalued position, the Falcons might get a hometown sweetheart deal as the Jets’ Robert Saleh runs more of a 4-3 that Poole may not be as successful in.