The Falcons may have the best-value free-agent signing of the 2021 offseason in Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson signed a one-year deal worth $3 million this summer. He seemingly followed Dave Ragone from Chicago, who is now the Falcons offensive coordinator and certainly has a large hand in helping Arthur Smith scheme the former All-Pro return man in Atlanta’s offense.
Nobody had ever thought to use Patterson the way Ragone, Smith, and the rest of the staff have, which must be acknowledged. The Falcons front office and coaching staff had a vision for him, and Patterson is enjoying the fruits of that vision. Smith calls plays with him as a traditional running back in the I-formation, split out wide as a traditional wide receiver, and everything in between.
Patterson leads the team in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, receptions, receiving touchdowns, and is second behind Kyle Pitts in receiving yards — 111 touches for 737 total yards and seven total touchdowns. He is a significant reason why the Falcons sit at .500 and have already matched the win total of last year’s Falcons.
With him being so valuable to this offense, it might be wise for Terry Fontenot to begin thinking about next season and retain Patterson before he can hit the free-agent market. He’s playing above the one-year deal he’s currently on, but Spotrac’s market value projects Patterson signing a two-year deal worth around $6.2 million next offseason.
That seems relatively low for the performance he’s having in 2021, and I would absolutely extend that offer to his camp. There is the possibility Patterson and his agent want to test the open market to garner a larger, multi-year deal. With so much tread left on his tires, he can likely continue for a couple of years at this rate.
I wouldn’t blame Patterson for wanting more money than the Falcons can afford; after all, Atlanta isn’t in a much better cap situation in 2022 than they are this year. Money will be tight again next offseason, but it would be difficult to imagine the Falcons not extending an offer with Spotrac’s projected AAV, or perhaps an even better one. However, there is also the possibility the organization isn’t interested in a multi-year deal and would instead look to the draft to replace Patterson’s production or maybe another bargain-bin free agent. Either way, it is worth figuring out now before he prices himself out of Atlanta’s range.
Photo: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire
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