Falcons

Which Falcons will sign extensions in 2019?

The Falcons have one of the best rosters in the NFL in terms of talent. That comes with the curse of having to make gut-wrenching decisions in the offseason. There is only so much money to go around in the NFL, and Atlanta has already locked up their core of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Desmond Trufant to $50 million in 2019. Not to mention, Jones is holding out for an even bigger piece of the pie. When the 2018 season comes to an end, many pieces that have been lucrative to Atlanta’s success over the past two years will have their contracts come to an end.

These are some of the decisions Dimitroff will be mulling over for the next seven months.

Tevin Coleman

I am starting with Coleman because, unfortunately, this could be one of the easiest decisions for Dimitroff to make. The Falcons rightfully chose to give Devonta Freeman a raise last offseason. They also drafted Ito Smith in the fourth round of this year’s draft. As good as Coleman has been since being drafted in 2015, the Falcons probably cannot afford another healthy investment at the running back position. Some team will likely recognize Coleman’s value and offer him a contract Atlanta will be hesitant to match.

Stay or Leave: Leave

Brian Poole

A former teammate of Keanu Neal at Florida, Poole has been a pleasant surprise after being brought in as an undrafted free agent. He signed a three-year, $1.62 million contract before the 2016 season. The Falcons spent a second-round pick on Isaiah Oliver in the draft. Oliver might step in immediately as a starting on defense with Atlanta loving their nickel package. Poole has proven to be a solid tackler. The problem is coverage has been spotty at best. Atlanta wants to improve in that area with Oliver. Poole could be back in 2019, but only if the market for him is cold and Atlanta signs him to a short-term deal.

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Ricardo Allen

Allen has battled his way to becoming a leader of the defense in the secondary. Atlanta placed a second-round tender on him this past offseason, making it almost a certainty that he would be back with the team in 2018. It is not out of the question that Allen heads elsewhere this offseason, but rumblings are out there that an extension is coming. If the Falcons do chose to extend him, it will be well-deserved. His play this season will be the deciding factor, and I am betting on Allen.

Stay or Leave: Stay

Justin Hardy

The former fourth-round pick in 2015 has been a reliable receiver for Matt Ryan. It has been hard to really gauge Hardy’s value because he has been behind some talented receivers, and has yet to really even have the opportunity to establish himself as a #3 receiver. That will not happen this year either, as Calvin Ridley joins the show. It will be best for both sides if Hardy finds a bigger role elsewhere.

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Andy Levitre

Atlanta’s trade for Levitre in 2015 has turned out to be a nice find. Levitre signed a gigantic six-year, $46.8 million contract with the Titans before the 2013 season. He fell out of favor with Tennessee, but has helped establish Atlanta’s offensive line as one of he top units in the league. The Falcons might role the dice in the 2019 draft if Levitre begins to fall off, however, I see him signing a short-term extension.

Stay or Leave: Stay

Grady Jarrett

This one is easy. Atlanta needs to and most likely will sign Jarrett to a long-term extension. Jarrett has proven to be the ultimate steal his first three seasons in the league after being drafted in the fifth-round. Everyone remembers his miraculous 3.5 sack performance in the 2017 Super Bowl. However, it is his consistency on the interior line that will earn him the large pay raise in 2019. Jarrett has a great chance of making the Pro-Bowl this season and was a snub last season. Atlanta is already light on the defensive line. They cannot risk letting Jarrett walk.

Stay or Leave: Stay

Jake Mathews

There is no arguing, Jake Mathews has not been perfect over his tenure in Atlanta. What has been spectacular about the former sixth overall pick is his durability. He has started in 63 of a possible 64 regular season games since being drafted in 2014. While he is not in the conversation for the best tackle in the league, his reliability cannot be overlooked. PFF ranked him as the #14 ranked tackle in 2017. The Atlanta offensive line is thin. Losing Mathews would be a sting to the organization.

Stay or Leave: Stay

 

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