The Falcons will be big players in free agency this offseason. With the second most cap space in the league, Atlanta has plenty of resources to upgrade a roster lacking talent everywhere. There isn’t a single position group that doesn’t need either starting-caliber talent or depth pieces, including linebacker. Troy Andersen and Mykal Walker are the only players under contract, which leads many to wonder if Atlanta should re-sign Rashaan Evans.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the two sides have mutual interest in a free agent deal. He even stated the two sides were negotiating, noting it was early
“There is a mutual interest in Evans, who led the team with 159 tackles, returning, but it’s early in the negotiating process.”
I don’t think Rashaan Evans had a bad year by any means, but to be one of the team’s first free agent signings would be a little weird. 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 the free agent linebacker class is absolutely loaded, so there are plenty of other better options.
Lavonte David is one of the best off-ball linebackers in the last decade. He’s elite in nearly every facet of the game. David Long is another well rounded linebacker, including an effective pass rusher. Long would be my pick. TJ Edwards is coming off a career year. Tremaine Edmunds is a freak athlete and grew this past year substantially in coverage. Germaine Pratt is also elite in coverage. Bobby Okereke wouldn’t break the bank and would be an upgrade over Evans.
Regardless of who the Falcons slot in next to Troy Andersen, that player needs to be better in coverage than Rashaan Evans.