The Falcons have been one of the most active teams this offseason — signing free agents, extending their own, and trading for once highly sought-after ones. There has been a slew of moves, and here is a recap of Atlanta’s offseason:
- Re-signed: Edge Lorenzo Carter
- Acquired via trade: TE Jonnu Smith
- Re-signed: G Chris Lindstrom
- Signed: DI David Onyemata
- Re-signed: P Bradley Pinion
- Signed: S Jessie Bates III
- Re-signed: FB Keith Smith
- Signed: LB Kaden Elliss
- Signed: QB Taylor Heinicke
- Re-signed: T Kaleb McGary
- Re-signed: T Germain Ifedi
- Activated: DL Eddie Goldman
- Signed: CB Mike Hughes
- Re-signed: CB Cornell Armstrong
- Signed: WR Mack Hollins
- Signed: LB Tae Davis
I’ll provide brief comments about each move.
Lorenzo Carter is seemingly being brought back for a similar role as last season. He does all the little things right, which is valuable, but his sack totals aren’t encouraging for the leader of the position group.
Jonnu Smith’s acquisition and subsequent contract adjustment was a move I loved. His best years came under Arthur Smith, and the Falcons got him for a fraction of the free agent price that the Patriots paid him.
Chris Lindstrom is probably the best player on the team and is now the highest-paid guard in the league. It was a little rich for my blood, but the Falcons had to lock him up.
Despite his less-than-palatable contract, David Onyemata should provide the best counterpart along the interior of Grady Jarrett‘s career.
Bradley Pinion returns on a three-year deal after a very productive year as Atlanta’s punter. The Falcons have placed emphasis on the third phase of the game. Special teams continuity is important.
Jessie Bates III was the highest-profile free agent signing, and he checks all of the boxes — intangibles, durability, and production.
Keith Smith returns and is a critical piece to the Falcons’ successful run game.
Kaden Elliss is an intriguing signing. He posted seven sacks last year but projects as an off-ball linebacker. He’ll likely be used in a hybrid role on and off the line of scrimmage. I’m excited to see Falcons’ new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen use Elliss.
Taylor Heinicke is one of the league’s best backups and is probably even better than Desmond Ridder right now, but he will provide an excellent presence behind Ridder.
The deal for Kaleb McGary was one that not many expected. Compared to other right tackles that signed free agent deals, it was a bargain. It also doesn’t lock the Falcons into anything long-term.
Germain Ifedi returns on another one-year deal and will serve as the team’s swing tackle, despite being a better pass blocker than run blocker.
Eddie Goldman was the surprise of the offseason. After signing with the Falcons last offseason, he retired less than two weeks following that deal but returns. He should bolster a defensive front that desperately needs depth.
Mike Hughes is seemingly Isaiah Oliver‘s replacement. He’s a versatile defender that provides plus run defense and blitzing, which is crucial for a slot defender. But he leaves much to be desired in coverage.
Cornell Armstrong and Tae Davis will be critical pieces to the Falcons’ special teams and provide depth on defense, and Mack Hollins will play a similar role but will get much more playing time on offense.
The Falcons aren’t done in free agency, but they’ve done an excellent job rounding out the roster.
Photographer: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire
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