The Falcons are set to have around $60 million in cap space this offseason as things stand now, but the figure could easily balloon to over $70 million if Atlanta parts ways with Marcus Mariota, who can save the team $12 million against a minuscule $2.5 million dead cap figure. With all that extra cash, Terry Fontenot will be able to bring in almost any free agent he desires, and there are plenty of potential future Falcons playing in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs this weekend.
DL Javon Hargrave, Eagles
Outside of Chris Jones and Aaron Donald, there isn’t a more dominant interior rusher than Hargrave. He’ll be 30 years old for the 2023 season, but it seems he’s right in the middle of his prime. His run defense has taken a dip in recent years, but Hargrave can do whatever is asked of him; he’s that talented. Hargrave is versatile and could be moved around the line of scrimmage next to Grady Jarrett.
S Jessie Bates III, Bengals
Playing on a franchise tag, Bates has turned in another impressive campaign. He’s the type of safety that can do it all, plus he’s also incredibly durable. This year was the fifth 1,000-snap season for Bates. He can play in the box and defend the run with the best of them, but Bates can also assume a single high role — extremely versatile.
OT Mike McGlinchey, 49ers
He certainly hasn’t lived up to his top-10 billing, but he is definitely a starting-caliber right tackle in this league. He’d be a great fit in Arthur Smith’s wide-zone rushing scheme — the same one in San Francisco under Kyle Shanahan. He’s a mauling run blocker, but I’m not quite sure he’s a significant upgrade over Kaleb McGary, who turned in the best campaign of his career in 2022.
CB James Bradberry, Eagles
Philadelphia should probably extend Bradberry; his 46.0% completion percentage allowed was the fourth-best mark among corners, posting 19 pass breakups as well, good for second. He’s not the No. 1 lockdown guy, but AJ Terrell can be that guy. Bradberry is an elite No. 2, and if the Falcons move on from Casey Hayward, the current Eagle could be on Atlanta’s radar.
S Jordan Poyer, Bills
Poyer didn’t receive an extension prior to the 2022 season, but he’ll get paid this offseason. He’s got plenty left in the tank as a 31-year-old after turning in one of the best seasons of his career. He has logged nearly 1,000 snaps in four straight seasons; that reliability will be valued in free agency.
TE Dalton Schultz, Cowboys
Schultz is also playing on the franchise tag, turning in an up-and-down year. Starting the year slow, the Dallas tight end had an excellent stretch during the middle of the season, posting great blocking and receiving grades. He’s not a unicorn like Kyle Pitts, but he’s a good run blocker and reliable receiver that thrives against zone coverage. He’d pair nicely with Pitts under Arthur Smith.
LB Tremaine Edmunds, Bills
I advocate against paying running backs and off-ball linebackers premium money, but there are a few exceptions, and Edmunds is one of them. He’s a freakish athlete and will only be 25 in 2023. He thrives in all facets of the game at the position — against the run, rushing the passer, and dropping into coverage. He might be the best all-around linebacker in football, and it’ll cost the Falcons if they want him. However, he would act as a second coordinator on the field for the defense while simultaneously mentoring a physically talented but raw Troy Andersen. A future tandem as athletic as that could give offenses nightmares.
S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Eagles
A lot of Falcons fans hate CGJ, and rightfully so. He’s the exact player that everyone hates but loves if he’s on their team. The former Saint is a versatile defensive back that can play a variety of roles. The Falcons don’t have an obvious nickel corner under contract in 2023, so if they choose not to bring back Isaiah Oliver, Gardner-Johnson could be a logical replacement.
OG Issac Seumalo, Eagles
After missing a ton of time over the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the Eagles guard turned in a career year this season, logging more than 1,000 snaps. He was one of the best pass-protecting guards in the league this season, and the Falcons will have to find someone to fill the left guard position.
EDGE Samson Ebukam, 49ers
Samson Ebukam might not be the household name that many Falcons fans were hoping for this offseason, but he’s quietly put together a solid season for the 49ers. Despite Nick Bosa headlining the Niners’ pass rush, Ebukam is a quality complementary piece that would be a welcomed addition to Atlanta’s unit. The Falcons should be able to acquire a player of his caliber for $7-10 million per season — a bargain for a free agent pass rusher.
EDGE Charles Omenihu, 49ers
You could copy and paste everything I said about Ebukam for Omenihu. After beginning as a rotational player, he’s been on a tear the past couple of years, especially after joining the Niners in a trade from the Texans. His 6-foot-5, 280-pound frame enables him to move up and down the line of scrimmage.
S Vonn Bell, Bengals
Bell isn’t the flashy Bengals safety like Bates, but he’s a general on the backend. He’s a leader and stout against the run. He’s a solid all-around safety in a league that’s consistently pushing the boundaries of versatility. Having a safety like Bell that can do a little bit of everything is incredibly valuable in today’s NFL.