Free Agent Big Board for the Falcons: Safeties

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This is the final edition of this series, wrapping it up with a position that has a lot of question marks going into the offseason. The Falcons have two promising young players in Richie Grant and Jaylinn Hawkins, but not much else. Duron Harmon and Erik Harris are free agents, but will the Falcons look to bring them (or similar players) back or look to add some serious talent? Are Hawkins and Grant ready to take over? I’ll break down some options that I like, because you can’t have enough talented DBs in today’s NFL. Previous editions are listed below:


10. DeShon Elliott — Baltimore Ravens

While he has been effective for the Ravens, Elliott has struggled to stay healthy at times. He’s the type of rotational safety the Falcons should look to add if they feel that Grant and Hawkins are ready to take on more responsibility.


9. Anthony Harris — Philadelphia Eagles

Harris is a solid veteran that can support in run defense and make some plays over the top, and he fits one of the key points I’ll be harping on for this group — versatility. Dean Pees loves his versatile defensive backs, and guys who can play multiple roles will be valued by Atlanta.


8. Jayron Kearse — Dallas Cowboys

Kearse is a big safety that can be used to cover bigger receivers and tight ends, and with so many big time tight ends in the NFC South (as constructed), he would be a valuable piece for the Falcons to use in dime sets.


7. Tyrann Mathieu — Kansas City Chiefs

I love the Honey Badger, he was one of my favorite players in college, but at his age and what he’s looking for financially — he probably doesn’t make a ton of sense for Atlanta.


6. Jabrill Peppers — New York Giants

I still think I love the idea of Jabrill Peppers more than the production of Jabrill Peppers, but he’s a guy who the Falcons will likely value due to his ability to play all over the field. Peppers is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, but he would be a good rotational piece for a decent cost, and he’s only 26 years old. He isn’t great in man coverage, but he can support against the run and blitz at a high rate.


5. Marcus Maye — New York Jets

Maye was a target I liked for the Falcons last offseason, but he ended up with the Jets again after being franchise tagged. He had a down 2021 season and struggled with injuries, but he’d be a high upside play for the right price.


4. Malik Hooker — Dallas Cowboys

If you were following along last offseason, I wanted the Falcons to take a big swing on Malik Hooker. While he had failed to stay healthy, he was fantastic when he was on the field. He played in 15 games for Dan Quinn in 2021, and he looked pretty good in the process. He’s still only 25 years old and fits the timeline for the Falcons.


3. M.J. Stewart — Cleveland Browns

You’re probably a little confused here, but hear me out. Stewart served as a rotational safety/corner on a good Browns defense, but he played a lot of different roles and played them well. He’s only 26, and he was fantastic in coverage in 2021. He’d make a great, cheap rotational option to build a young safety core with Grant and Hawkins.


2. Jessie Bates III — Cincinnati Bengals

Coming off of a Super Bowl appearance, Jessie Bates is going to get PAID. He’s one of the best safeties in football, and the Bengals would be foolish not to lock him up. Funny enough, the Falcons could use the 8th pick in the draft on a Bates clone — Kyle Hamilton.


1. Marcus Williams — New Orleans Saints

Man, I’d really love to hand Marcus Williams a bag and get on with things, but that’s not how the world works. He’s a fantastic scheme fit, and he has some familiarity with Terry Fontenot. To boot, the Saints probably can’t afford him. Maybe Atlanta can find some cap relief, and if they want to spend it on a defensive player — Williams would be a fantastic option.

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