PFF gives their favorite and least favorite Falcons free agency move

NFL: DEC 12 Bears at Packers

The Falcons came into the offseason with holes at quarterback, wide receiver, cornerback, and EDGE, filling the two in most desperate need of attention by inking Kirk Cousins and Darnell Mooney to four and three-year deals, respectively, worth a combined $200+ million.

Terry Fontenot worked similarly last offseason when he agreed to deals with Jessie Bates, David Onyemata, and Kaden Elliss at the opening bell of the tampering period. The Falcons worked other free agents this year as well, signing and re-signing a slew of important depth pieces and role players — Charlie Woerner, Nate Landman, Ryan Neuzil, Ray-Ray McCloud III, Kentavius Street, KhaDarel Hodge, and Storm Norton.

The team’s GM still has some work to do on the defensive side of the ball, specifically at corner and EDGE, but the roster is rounding into form nicely. PFF recently reviewed each team’s signings after the first wave of free agency, giving their favorite and least favorite move; here are their picks for the Falcons:

PFF’s favorite Falcons free agency move was Darnell Mooney:

Mooney avoided a one-year flier after a down 2023 season and got 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.

Mooney’s deal is quite polarizing. On the one hand, He’s a player with a 1,000-yard season in his past — 81 catches, 1,055 yards in 2021 — and has versatility, too, able to line up in the slot or on the boundary and should be a nice complement to Drake London.

However, he hasn’t eclipsed 500 yards in the past two seasons with 40 catches for 493 yards in 2022 and 31 catches for 414 yards last season. The Falcons are paying him like a WR2, so the expectation is that he produces as such.

PFF’s least favorite Falcons free agency move was Kirk Cousins.

Cousins has undoubtedly proven he’s a top-10-to-15 quarterback in the NFL, and this is the going rate when a player of that caliber reaches unrestricted free agency. Nonetheless, it seems 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.

Much like Mooney, Cousins’ deal with the Falcons is met with polarizing reactions. Some love it and believe the veteran makes the Falcons contenders in a wide open NFC, while others can’t get past the lack of postseason success, his age, and the fact that he’s coming off an Achilles injury.

All are reasonable concerns, but Terry Fontenot has done his best work in free agency, and the Falcons had conviction in the $180 million deal, so I’m going to let it play out before giving sweeping judgments.

Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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