The Athletic: Falcons among the favorites to have the top pick in 2023

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Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic recently did a piece on the head-scratchers, brilliant moves, and power shifts around the league — what he’s learned about all 32 teams. With the help of salary cap and contract expert Jason Fitzgerald, Kapadia had an eye-opening opinion on the Falcons’ offseason and what the 2022 season holds for Atlanta.

Atlanta Falcons: They’re among the favorites to have the top pick in 2023

They traded Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts and signed Marcus Mariota. The Falcons have one of the NFL’s worst rosters, but moving Ryan was the right move. Having said that, Fitzgerald questioned their process. Could Atlanta have gotten more for Ryan had it decided earlier in the offseason to move on?

“I think it was the right course of action. I just think it was something they should’ve done probably a month before that,” he said. “The way it happened, they decided to dance with Deshaun Watson. That pretty much ended the relationship. They probably could’ve gotten teams like Washington, some other teams, at least involved, to where maybe they could’ve gotten a second-round pick or something for him instead of just having to quickly put together a trade and get him over to Indianapolis.”

“In terms of what they need to do, they need to turn the page,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s just a bad situation there. The salary cap is a mess. It’s still the fallout from trying to chase that one Super Bowl loss for too long. They’re just finally starting to turn the page on that.”

The Falcons’ projected win total by sportsbooks is five — ahead of only the Houston Texans.

Nobody, including Falcons fans, expects the team to win more than six games; however, when you compare win totals, Atlanta is only ahead of Houston, which is the most shocking fact. The Falcons are in the same conversation as the Lions, Jaguars, Texans, and Jets for what kind of season they might have. Atlanta will surely be trying to win every game they possibly can, but don’t count out the Falcons having a top-five selection in the 2023 draft, which might not be all that bad considering CJ Stroud and Bryce Young will headline the 2023 class.

It looks like the gambling world isn’t high on Marcus Mariota. Even though the Falcons have made a few quality free agent signings like Casey Hayward, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Lorenzo Carter, we should all temper our expectations for this team in 2022.

Photographer: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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