The Falcons don’t have a robust roster; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Arthur Smith has led a team lacking talent across the depth chart to a more than respectable season thus far, but injuries are taking a toll. In the last month, the Falcons have lost Casey Hayward for what could be the season, A.J. Terrell for three games, and two left guards for the season in Elijah Wilkinson and Matt Hennessy. More recently, it’s gotten even worse. Atlanta’s win over Chicago came at a cost, as Kyle Pitts and Ta’Quon Graham were placed on the IR on Monday.
For most of the injuries the team has experienced, the Falcons have turned to in-house replacements. On Sunday, MyCole Pruitt took the bulk of the snaps in the wake of Pitts’ injury. On the season, the eighth-year veteran has appeared in seven games, logging four catches for 31 yards and one touchdown. He has a connection to Arthur Smith and Marcus Mariota, sharing time with the Titans. More than likely, it’ll be a committee approach to replace Pitts’ snaps. The Falcons could turn to Parker Hesse, a better blocker than receiver, Feleipe Franks, a quarterback turned into a tight end, and Anthony Firkser, who also has ties to Tennessee.
On the other side of the ball, the Falcons defensive line depth is shaky at best, so losing Graham might prove worse than initially thought. Atlanta could turn to Timmy Horne, who the coaching staff loves but is very clearly a reserve-caliber player. Or they could call on Abdullah Anderson, who recorded his first sack of the season against the Bears. Undrafted free agent Jalen Dalton will likely see some time as well, but for the most part, the options are uninspiring, which is why we might finally see the Falcons explore the free agent market.
At tight end, Jared Cook is an option. He’s 35 years old and last played with the Chargers in 2021, where he caught 48 passes for 564 yards and four touchdowns. In that same breath, Sheldon Richardson could bolster the defensive front. The 31-year-old has gone un-signed despite still being an effective run-stopping defender. He’s not a game-changer, but the former first-round pick should still be able to use his 6’3″, 290-pound frame to clog running lanes.
It would be atypical of the new regime to make either signing, but there are free agents available who can help the Falcons today.