The Falcons’ offseason has officially begun, and Terry Fontenot has already signed a bevy of players to reserve/future contracts. Atlanta will need to create some cap space to sign their 2022 draft class as well as other free agents to fill out the rest of the roster. There are plenty of places the Falcons could search to find contributors; after all, they’ve already dipped into the CFL.
The front office and coaching staff have shown a tendency to sign players they’re familiar with — i.e., Cordarrelle Patterson‘s familiarity with Charles London and Dave Ragone. So, let’s explore impending Saints free agents that may interest Terry Fontenot, who has spent every year of his career in New Orleans before accepting the GM position in Atlanta.
Marcus Williams — S
Williams played under the franchise tag in 2021, and was as good as he’s ever been. He’s one of the league’s best safeties roaming on the backend and would immediately reshape the Falcons secondary.
Williams is a terrific cover safety with the ability to play deep or man-to-man; his strengths lie in that area of the game. He struggles defending the run, but that shouldn’t discourage Fontenot. Williams would be a home run free agent signing, but he certainly won’t be cheap. Because of this, I doubt the Falcons have any interest in him.
P.J. Williams — DB
P.J. Williams is another Saints defensive back that is set to hit free agency. Unlike Marcus Williams, P.J. Williams won’t cost an arm and a leg to bring to Atlanta. Able to play safety and cornerback, Williams’ versatility has to interest Dean Pees. It might not be the sexiest signing, but his coverage skills are apparent, and the Falcons need all of the man-coverage defenders they can get.
Tre’Quan Smith — WR
Smith doesn’t have the best reputation in New Orleans. Many Saints fans believe he is a liability, but he showed Falcons fans first-hand what he can do — recording five catches and 76 yards in the teams’ season finale. He’s scored at a profound rate since entering the league and could be a red zone threat for a Falcons offense that struggled in that area.
Shy Tuttle — DT
Tuttle is a restricted free agent, so there are no guarantees that he hits the market. However, if he does, the Falcons could do much worse than Tuttle. He’s reliable against the run, but he’s actually a decent pass rusher from the interior at times. There are probably better options as far as interior run defenders go, but because of the connection to Fontenot, Tuttle could be on the Falcons’ radar.
Carl Granderson — DE
Granderson is also a restricted free agent, but I doubt the Saints bring him back considering all the talent they have at the position. He’s an incredible athlete for his size — 6-5, 261-pounds — with the bend to get around tackles on the edge. Combine that with his long arms and upper body strength, Granderson could really come into his own if he was given a full-time role. Although, he could stand to improve his anchor and positioning as a run defender.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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