Projected contracts of Falcons free agent targets

dmk191215121 min at lac

Falcons brass is in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine, but the new league year is right around the corner, enabling teams to negotiate with free agents.

Terry Fontenot is armed with around $48 million in cap space to spend on prospective free agent targets. So, let’s take a look at the projected price tags of these free agents.

All contract projections are from Spotrac

QB Kirk Cousins projected contract: 3 years, $118 million ($39 million AAV)

Cousins is likely to garner somewhere around $40 million over two or three years, which very well could be his last contract. Up until this point, the veteran has signed fully guaranteed deal after fully guaranteed deal, so there’s no reason to expect this one will be any different. If the Falcons believe Cousins is their best option, they shouldn’t hesitate to fork over this kind of money.

QB Baker Mayfield projected contract: 4 years, $108.5 million ($27.1 million AAV)

For more than $10 million less, the Falcons could sign Baker Mayfield, but he’s undoubtedly a lesser quarterback to this point compared to Cousins. Now, if you believe Mayfield’s 2023 campaign was a sign of more to come and Cousins’ Achilles injury will hinder his future performance, this might be your preference for the Falcons.

EDGE Josh Allen projected contract: 5 years, $120 million ($23.9 million AAV)

Allen is one of several franchise tag candidates on this list, but if the Jaguars do let him hit free agency, the Falcons would be fools not to spin the wheels on a potential deal. He’s one of the premier pass rushers in this league and could also guide Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone in their respective developments. As contracts approach $30 million for some edge rushers, less than $24 million could be a deal if you believe Allen still has room to grow.

WR Michael Pittman Jr. projected contract: 4 years, $90 million ($22.9 million AAV)

With Tee Higgins franchise tagged, Spotrac has Pittman projected to receive the next biggest contract. At nearly $23 million per year, Pittman would become one of the highest-paid players in Atlanta. I’m not quite sure that’s a wise use of cap dollars, but Drake London’s rookie contract would run parallel to Pittman’s free agent deal.

EDGE Brian Burns projected contract: 5 years, $108 million ($21.7 million AAV)

Similar to Allen, Burns may not even hit the market, but if he does, the Falcons have to inquire. Terry Fontenot reached out to Carolina in the past about acquiring Burns, so expect that interest to continue if he hits free agency. At less than $22 million per year, the Falcons could have a double-digit sack pass rusher under contract for five years.

EDGE Danielle Hunter projected contract: 3 years, $60 million ($20 million AAV)

Danielle Hunter is expected to leave Minnesota. The former LSU star has established himself as one of the premier pass rushers in this league, and a price tag of $20 million should be considered a bargain. He’s coming off a 16.5-sack campaign and will surely garner more than that on the open market.

WR Calvin Ridley projected contract: 4 years, $68 million ($17 million AAV)

How ironic would be if the Falcons traded Calvin Ridley one year to sign him in free agency a year later? Well, that could happen. The Jaguars might gamble and let Ridley hit free agency, but it could backfire. Raheem Morris was his position coach on Dan Quinn’s staff, and Zac Robinson’s offense is expected to emphasize more 11 personnel, which features three receivers. The fit in Atlanta’s offense under Robinson is much better than Arthur Smith.

EDGE Jonathan Greenard projected contract: 4 years, $53.8 million ($13.4 million AAV)

Greenard had a career-best year across the board, finishing with 12.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 32 pressures, and 22 QB hits last year. If it only costs $13.4 million per season, the Falcons would be foolish not to sign him. In reality, I believe he’s going to garner a contract north of $15 million AAV. Even still, that would be a palatable deal for Atlanta.

EDGE Bryce Huff projected contract: 4 years, $36.8 million ($9.2 million AAV)

Another shocking AAV. Bryce Huff’s market value is going to be around $15+ million per year in my estimation, but if somehow it’s around $9 million per year, the Falcons should absolutely pull the trigger on the Jets edge defender. He’s hitting the market at the right time, coming off a career year in which he posted 1o sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and 21 QB hits.

EDGE Josh Uche projected contract: 2 years, $16.6 million ($8.3 million AAV)

Morris could get his sub-package pass-rusher here with Uche, who posted 18.5 sacks over four seasons with the Patriots, including a career-high 11.5 in 2022. The length of the deal is a bit wonky for the Falcons. I hope the idea is to pair Arnold Ebiketie with another younger EDGE rusher. Uche could be that partner.

Photographer: Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire

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