What should be the Falcons plan this offseason?

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When talking about this Falcons team, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. This franchise has been stuck in the mud ever since the epic Super Bowl collapse against the Patriots. They hung onto their veterans for too long and finally hit the rebuild button a couple of years ago. The past two seasons haven’t been pretty because of it, but change could finally be on the horizon with another successful offseason.

The Falcons roster lacks talent on both sides of the ball, but with Arthur Smith calling the shots, this offense found an identity in 2022. Atlanta featured one of the best rushing attacks in the league, and Tyler Allgeier made a case for Offensive Rookie of the Year in the second half of the season after he was made the featured back. Drake London also proved to be a legitimate WR1, and the offensive line mauled people all season. If the Falcons can figure out the quarterback position, it won’t take much more for this offense to become one of the most feared in the league.

That will be the most critical decision of the offseason in Atlanta. Desmond Ridder performed admirably over the last four weeks, but there’s no way anybody should have come to the conclusion that he is 100% going to be the next franchise quarterback for the Falcons. Ridder didn’t do anything to hurt his case, but at the very least, there should be an open competition going into training camp next offseason.

The competition could consist of a veteran backup quarterback the Falcons sign this offseason, a rookie, or a more proven commodity that Terry Fontenot targets in a trade. Everything is on the table for the Falcons this offseason, as they are set to have the second-most cap space of any team.

Given the Falcons targeted Deshaun Watson last offseason, I expect them to heavily consider trading for their guy again this time around. Ryan Tannehill makes a lot of sense because of his connection to Arthur Smith from their days in Tennessee, and of course, the Falcons would be fools not to at least inquire about Lamar Jackson if he’s made available.

I’m not against Atlanta trading for their guy; however, the best course of action is probably riding it out one more year with Ridder and seeing if he can be the team’s next franchise quarterback. This team is not a quarterback away from winning the Super Bowl. Could they win a weak NFC South? Absolutely, but they aren’t going to really be competitive until they fill out the rest of the roster with high quality contributors.

Right now, the defense might be the worst in the league. It needs bolstering at all three levels. That should be the focal point of the offseason. Nearly all of the Falcons resources, and they have a lot of them, should be allocated to the defensive side of the ball. Once they get that figured out, which isn’t something that is going to happen overnight, then they can consider making a splash for a quarterback if Ridder doesn’t prove to be the guy.

However, if Ridder does make the necessary strides next year to earn the Falcons’ trust, this team will no longer be in rebuild mode. The advantage of having a starting quarterback on a rookie contract cannot be understated. It will allow the Falcons a ton of resources to build around him, which is why I believe giving Ridder the opportunity to prove himself over a full slate of games in 2023 is the direction the new regime will ultimately take, even after exploring all of their options.

Photographer: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

 

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