PFF gives Falcons grade for free agency

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Free agency isn’t over, but it’s safe to say the bulk of the moves around the league have already taken place. For the Falcons, they primarily focused on their two most pressing needs, quarterback and wide receiver.

Kirk Cousins was the best quarterback free agent available this offseason, and the Falcons were able to land him, thanks to a massive four-year $180 million contract offer.

At receiver, Terry Fontenot added three new faces — Darnell Mooney, Rondale Moore, and Ray-Ray McCloud. Heading into the offseason, the Falcons had zero NFL-caliber wide receivers on the roster behind Drake London. They had to add several pass-catchers, especially with Zac Robinson taking over the offense, who is expected to favor three wide receiver sets.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Falcons have yet to add a marquee defensive free agent. I hope that will change in the near future, but according to PFF, it doesn’t matter. The Falcons are still one of the biggest winners in free agency.


Cousins has undoubtedly proven he’s a top 10-15 quarterback in the NFL, and this is the going rate when a player of that caliber reaches unrestricted free agency. Nonetheless, we just feel like some people are hand-waving the fact he’ll be 36 years old coming off a torn Achilles. That said, his dance moves looked good at the NFL Awards, so clearly his recovery is going well.

Mooney avoids the one-year flier after a down 2023 season and gets paid a contract that reflects an understanding that his lack of production in recent years wasn’t entirely his fault, with the Bears ranking 32nd in passing yards over his rookie contract. Mooney still separated consistently on film, and now he immediately steps in as a No. 2 option at wide receiver opposite Drake London, winning in different ways than him and tight end Kyle Pitts. A reunion with former Bears general manager Ryan Pace, the man who drafted Mooney in 2020, was a perfect match for all parties.


Giving the benefit of the doubt to Terry Fontenot would be wise for Falcons fans. Atlanta’s GM has hit more often than he’s missed in free agency, particularly with the more lucrative contracts he’s handed out — Jessie Bates, Kaden Elliss, and David Onyemata.

There seem to be polarizing viewpoints on the Cousins and Mooney deals. Some believe they’re reasonable; others think they’re overpaid underperformers. I think it’s all about perspective.

The Falcons went out and got the best option at the most important position in the sport. Regardless of your opinion on the actual contract value, Atlanta acknowledged their problem and fixed it with Cousins.

As far as those who believe Mooney at $13 million per year is too rich for a pass catcher who hasn’t eclipsed 500 yards in the past two seasons, you clearly didn’t watch much of Justin Fields.

With Cousins in the fold, Mooney will have more opportunities and a more accurate passer. The production should improve. The Falcons also aren’t paying Mooney to be a star WR1. They’re paying him the going rate for a WR2; the expectation is for him to produce like one.

Other than an EDGE defender, I think Terry Fontenot put this team in a position to be as successful as possible at this point in the offseason.

Photographer: Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire

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