Report: Falcons re-signing Rashaan Evans is still on the table

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Despite signing Kaden Elliss to a three-year deal, the Falcons are still in the market for a linebacker, and Rashaan Evans returning is a possibility, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It was reported at the end of the year that the two sides had an interest in Evans returning, but that was put to rest when Dean Pees retired. Ryan Nielsen was hired as defensive coordinator, and many thought he would want to bring in his own guys.

I don’t think Rashaan Evans had a bad year by any means, but there are plenty of upgradeable options. He’s a veteran and led a young position group, but Evans struggled mightily in certain facets of the game — pass coverage, in particular. There’s a chance the Falcons retain him, but it shouldn’t be more than bolstering depth.

Kaden Elliss will likely slot in next to Troy Andersen as the defense’s starting off-ball linebackers, but it’s unclear what Nielsen wants — two or three linebackers. Elliss is an excellent pass rusher, recording seven sacks last season, six of which came in the final seven weeks, so there’s a scenario where the Falcons bring in a subpackage-esque linebacker that can be more reliable in coverage than Rashaan Evans. This would free Elliss up to be a pass rusher on obvious passing downs.

If Nielsen decides Elliss would be better served playing on the line of scrimmage as the SAM linebacker, the Falcons would have a void next to Troy Andersen, and Rashaan Evans could make sense in that scenario. I still have a hard time believing Ryan Nielsen will advocate for an average run defender and a well-below-average defender against the pass that he has no familiarity with.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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