Veteran free agent pass rusher a fit for the Falcons?


Terry Fontenot has patched the Falcons’ roster holes with cheap, free agent depth pieces ahead of the NFL Draft.

Fontenot’s M.O has always been to take the best player available in the draft. However, it may force him back into the free agency pool.

If the Falcons don’t find starters at cornerback and edge, Fontenot has to go back into the market to fill those voids. In past seasons, there wasn’t a need for as much urgency, but this year is different with Kirk Cousins in the fold.

Arthur Blank is expecting results more so than ever in Fontenot’s tenure after giving the veteran quarterback $180 million this offseason. The bare minimum is a postseason berth, but I wouldn’t shocked if the team’s owner is expecting some level of success in the playoffs.

The Falcons believe their contenders, but the defense says otherwise. If the two holes aren’t filled in the draft, we should expect Fontenot to dip back into the free agent market, and there’s still some talent available.

Bud Dupree, Calais Campbell, Carl Lawson, and Stephon Gilmore, among others, are still unsigned, but Bleacher Report floated an interesting potential free agent target, a bargain contract in Markus Golden.

Bargains don’t need to become surprise every-down stars.

The best production of Markus Golden’s career is likely in the past, yet he can still be an effective pass-rusher.

Last season, he only played 22 percent of snaps in Pittsburgh. He managed four sacks—and a fifth in the postseason—showing he can offer valuable depth at a particularly vital position.

Now, the main question is whether Golden wants to prioritize playing time or a playoff run. If the former, the Denver Broncos are an appealing spot; if the latter, the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins are among the several landing spots that make sense.

Consider it a suspicion that the 33-year-old—one with four career playoff games—will be eyeing a Super Bowl.

Contract: 1 year, $1.5 million with Miami Dolphins

The Falcons aren’t going to expect Golden to be the answer, but hell, they can’t expect Calais Campbell and a rookie to be either. The Falcons need to address the team’s pass rush once and for all.

It’s been an issue for a decade, and a bargain free agent isn’t going to change that. Neither will a rookie. It has to be a committee approach, and none of this would be as frustrating if the Falcons didn’t sign the best available quarterback, but they did, so now we have these high expectations.

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

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