The Falcons have been very active on the first day of NFL free agency. They completed their first trade of the offseason by acquiring tight end Jonnu Smith from the Patriots for a seventh-round pick. Shortly after, they announced a mega-extension with All-Pro guard Chris Lindstrom, which will pay him $105 million over five years. The Falcons also re-signed Keith Smith and Bradley Pinion, two key pieces of their special teams, before their big splash of the offseason, inking Jessie Bates II to a four-year contract worth just over $64 million.
The Falcons are winning free agency thus far, but their most lucrative move was the extension handed to Chris Lindstrom. He is now the highest paid player at his position. The Falcons had to lock him up. He’s the best player on the team and the identity of the offense right now; however, not everybody believes Terry Fontenot and company’s decision was one that will be great for the Falcons in the long term.
I don’t necessarily agree with McCoy. He’s also a former rival, so it’s possible he’s just stirring the pot with the fan base. However, there is some merit to what he’s saying.
Hahaha Falcons fans hurt. Man idc bout y’all. Lindstrom is nice and deserved his money. Ain’t about him. But y’all crazy if y’all think paying a guard that much can help y’all when y’all have other more valued positions needing to be addressed.
— Gerald McCoy (@Geraldini93) March 13, 2023
There’s a reason there was only one offensive guard with an AAV of $20 million prior to the Lindstrom signing. It doesn’t carry the same positional value as other positions — OT, QB, WR, Edge, CB, to name a few. Paying a guard the most money in the league isn’t typically what the best franchises are antsy to accomplish.
With that being said, Lindstrom was the highest graded player in all of football, according to PFF, with a grade of 95. He might be the best guard in the league, and he’s just sniffing the start of his prime. Beyond that, he’s a Walter Payton Man of the Year candidate and a leader in the locker room. Lindstrom is a picture perfect example of the culture Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot are attempting to establish in Atlanta. They didn’t have a choice but to hand him a mega-extension.
Do I wish the total had come in south of $100 million? Absolutely, but if making the best player on the team the highest paid player at his position is among the worst thing this regime does, the Falcons should be just fine. Lindstrom deserves to be paid like the top guard in the league, and I’m thrilled he will be in Atlanta for the long-term.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire