Free Agent Big Board for the Falcons: Linebackers

oluokun 2020

The Falcons have a lot of tough decisions to make at linebacker going into 2022. Deion Jones has a monster cap hit, and his play did not live up to it in 2021. Foyesade Oluokun, the NFL’s leader in tackles in 2021, is an impending free agent. Young up and comer Mykal Walker shows a lot of promise, but do the Falcons trust him to take over full time in 2022? Regardless, this isn’t a super strong group, but the Falcons could look to add a few bargain additions to back up or start alongside whoever they decide to trot out in 2022. If you want to check out previous editions of this series, they’re linked below:


9. Dont’a Hightower — New England Patriots

After missing 2020, Hightower played well in limited action in 2021 for the Patriots. Hightower was an elite linebacker for a long time, but are the Falcons going to dish out big money to a 32-year-old if Deion Jones is on the roster? My money would be on no.


8. Kyzir White — Los Angeles Chargers

Although he was a safety in college, Kyzir White made a decent transition as an off-ball linebacker in the NFL. He’s a lower-cost option, and even if the Falcons bring back Foyesade Oluokun, White would be a nice addition if he doesn’t break the bank. Dean Pees would value his versatility.


7. Ja’Whuan Bentley — New England Patriots

Bentley is pretty well-rounded; he’s more of a hybrid player that serves as a pass rusher, but he can do a little bit of everything pretty well. He’s only 25, and he’s an interesting, versatile piece the Falcons should consider if the price is right.


6. Micah Kiser — Denver Broncos

One of three Broncos on this list, I was a fan of Micah Kiser when he came out of Virginia in the 2018 Draft. Kiser played well in pretty limited action, and I’d be willing to take a flyer on a guy who’s only 27 years old. He could be quality depth at a low cost.


5. Jayon Brown — Tennessee Titans

Brown had a disappointing 2021 on a good Titans defense, but his versatility and familiarity with the coaching staff could generate some mutual interest on both sides. If you can offload Deion Jones’ contract and replace him with Brown, I think that’s a win.


4. Alexander Johnson — Denver Broncos

Johnson is a bit old for a first-time free agent, but there’s no doubt he made a significant impact on a good Broncos defense coached by one of the greatest defensive minds in football in Vic Fangio. He’s coming off a torn pectoral, but he would immediately provide Atlanta’s defense with some veteran leadership.


3. Josey Jewell — Denver Broncos

Back-to-Back Broncos, Jewell missed most of 2021 after also suffering a torn pec, but he was playing some of the best football of his career. He had a solid 2020 as well, and the Falcons could absolutely buy low on a guy coming off of injury who showed flashes of elite talent.


2. Anthony Walker Jr. — Cleveland Browns

The 26-year-old Walker is one of the better cover linebackers in the NFL, and he was an absolute bargain for the Browns in 2021. Walker is a piece that will benefit the Falcons now and going forward, especially if they find a taker for Deion Jones. His ability to cover running backs combined with his age should make him a priority target in the NFC South.


1. Foyesade Oluokun — Atlanta Falcons

At the end of the day, bringing back Oluokun is an easy decision for the right price. He led the NFL in tackles, and while that can be a hollow statistic, he’s a good “see ball, get ball” linebacker. If the Falcons can trade Deion Jones and let Mykal Walker move into the WILL role, bringing back Oluokun becomes an easy decision.



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