Many NFL experts thought the Seahawks taking Irivn with the 15th overall pick in the 2012 draft was a reach. However, he proved in his rookie season he was definitely worth the pick. Irvin recorded 8 sacks in his rookie campaign, but has yet to put up such numbers in the last three seasons. He has played all over the field for the Seahawks and may look to return to becoming a primary pass-rusher. Irvin expressed last offseason that he would be playing for the Falcons under Dan Quinn in 2016. Quinn coached Irvin during his time in Seattle. The biggest question regarding a possible reunion is cost. Will the Falcons want to pony up the dollars for a pass rusher who has only accumulated 14 sacks in the last three years? Irvin is certainly talented and could perhaps provide a huge help to Atlanta’s desperate pass rushing needs, but at the end of the day the price tag may be to high given the number of needs the Falcons have to address this offseason.
Jason Pierre-Paul put up some monster numbers during his time with the Giants. The South Florida product recorded 16.5 sacks in his sophomore year and another 12.5 sacks in 2014. The Giants franchise tagged him after the 2014 season and then everything seemed to go wrong. In a July 4th fireworks accident, Paul lost two fingers and it forced him to miss the first eight games of the season. He returned for the final eight games, playing with a heavily wrapped hand. Pierre-Paul only had one sack last year, but proved to be disruptive in most of the games he played in. The biggest question once again will be money. The Falcons can’t afford to shell out major dollars on a possible bust, so they will have to be very confident his hand will not be an issue going forward.
Anther New York Giant product, Ayers had a nice year in the absence of Jason Pierre-Paul. Ayers nearly recorded 10 sacks at 30-years old, which was by far the best total of his career. Despite the huge sack total last year, I think Ayers could be gotten for an affordable price in a year where the top pass rushers will be at a premium. He can rush from both the outside and the inside and could definitely bolster a defensive line that struggled mightily last year at a reasonable price tag.
Freeney has put together a Hall Of Fame career over his fourteen seasons in the NFL. His patented spin move is one of the most vaunted moves in NFL history. He is no longer a double-digit sack guy like he was for the majority of his career, but he did have a sort of resurgent year for the Cardinals last season. After recording just 4.0 total sacks in his previous two seasons with the Chargers, Freeney recorded 8 sacks last year with the Cardinals. He is not going to be an every down player but could add some much needed depth and pass rushing ability to the Falcons’ defensive line at a cheap price.