I want to start by saying, I don't think we plan on any major free agency signings. I think the vast majority of our cap room goes to retaining our players with the exception of a patented outside of the box TD trade this year. My offseason retains our top talent, gives depth & young talent at our biggest needs, and sets us up – cap wise- for our free agents next year. Even then .. with these moves, cap space will be tight.
Trade: Falcons trade a 2019 6th & 2020 pick to the Miami Dolphins for Josh Sitton. Say hello to this year's version of Andy Levitre. The Dolphins aren't going to be competitive and they know it. This gives them draft capital while clearing the payroll. Falcons get their new starting LG on a contract with 1 year left. He'll fall off the books next year while giving us time to groom our future starting LG (see draft later).
Resign: Saimbrelo, Irvin, Jarrett, Poole, B Carter and Bethel. Saimbrelo is an excellent backup swing tackle. Irvin can play an important role to providing depth and veteran leadership to Vic & Takk. Fusco is not a resigning, but I do believe he stays for 1 more year. Good depth at value.
Extend: V Beasley & J Jones. Beasley I think will be in the range of 3-4 years @ 8-10/year. I believe with better DTs his production will pick up. I may not see it, but it seems our coaches feel there is still plenty of potential. Plus, there aren’t any free agent DE’s that would replace his value for less $.
Cut: B Reed, R Alford, M Bryant. I don't think we make any other notable cuts, unless ...
Potential FA: I do think we make a push for a guy like Daryl Williams (RT). If we are able to sign him, Schraeder is a post June 1 cut. If we cannot (this is my opinion of how it will play out unfortunately), I think Schraeder takes a pay cut. Either way, with an improved interior (Sitton) + competitive depth (see Saimbrelo + draft), the RT position will improve next year.
FA: Any other FA moves will be depth at best ... more than likely just filling out the roster on minimum contracts.
These moves still leave the roster with plenty of holes: Base DE, DT, LB Depth, CB, WR Depth, RB, FB, OT, OG. We cannot fill out every hole in the draft, but I believe the draft will fall where we can go BPA and still fill these primary needs (ideal way to draft).
Draft 1) C Wilkins - DT. This guy is a top 10 talent, but due to teams that draft by need I think we luck into him falling to us. BPA at a position of need. Other potential: Jonah Williams, Ed Oliver & Jeffrey Simmons. Jonah will be gone. Like it or not, Simmons isn't going to be a Falcon due to his past. Oliver I strongly considered, but there is just something watching him play that makes me question his ability to translate the NFL. I have no doubt that Wilkins will be a player. (hot take: Clemson's DLine's best NFL players will be: 1) Wilkins 2)Bryant 3)Lawrence 4)Ferrell)
2) Rock Ya Sin – CB. Top 50 player … I don’t care what a lot of these draft boards are saying. Even though he doesn’t have the experience at the top level of college football, he’ll be a baller. I believe the Falcons view CB as a bigger need than most. Cutting our arguably best cover corner and leaving it in the hands of a 2nd year player? Not to mention is Tru going to still be starting caliber… This is a BPA pick that provides depth and competition at a position that Quinn views as vital to the success of a defense. Other options considered: OT/OG. There are a few names that I could see us looking into, but in terms of 2nd round OL vs 3/4/5 round OL, I don’t see as big of a gap in talent as I do in CB from rounds 2 to later.
3) Tytus Howard – OT. Good size, footwork, and showed well in Senior Bowl against higher level competition. He’s not going to be a day 1 starter. Keeping Schraeder on for a year (assuming we don’t sign Williams), he can take the year to develop his craft and take over next year when we cut Schraeder for cap purposes. If Tytus is gone, based on who the Falcons were linked to, I could see us taking a guy like Trey Pipkins. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any tape on Trey so I will have to withhold opinion.
4) Wes Hills – RB. IMO huge sleeper. He may have gone to a small school, but he is a stud. Total package … vision, cutting ability, and power. May not have the top line speed TECO does, but he is fast enough. I’ll be confident in Ito & Wes to take over RB if Devonte goes down.
4-Comp) Jon Ledbetter – DE. Base DE to replace Shelby. I’ve always felt he was misused at UGA (and I’m a Tech fan). He showed more pass rushing ability at the Senior Bowl than I was expecting. I think he is very raw there, but his ability to set the edge will be there day 1. Excellent value here. I believe post-combine he’ll be viewed closer to an early 4th to maybe late 3rd round pick.
5) Alex Bar – OG. We luck out here, assuming he comes back healthy from his injury. If he was healthy this year, he’s a 2nd-3rd round prospect … more than likely 2nd. Picking up Sitton for the year will give him the time to heal up and take over LG when Sitton is gone next year.
5-Comp) Jazz Ferguson – WR. Sleeper pick. The Ferguson brother that is not a 1st to 3rd round prospect --- only due to issues with school. He ended up at a small school, but certainly showed out (watch his game film vs Texas A&M to see him go against P5 competition). I see NFL size, speed, hands and willingness to block. Route running needs some cleaning up. Will take this year to be acclimated to NFL speed and be our #3 receiver next year behind Julio & Ridely. Sanu is a cap casualty next year.
7) Trevon Wesco – FB/H-back. IMO this guy was completely off my radar until the Senior Bowl. And that’s when they tried him out at FB. If he can shed a few pounds and pick up a little speed, this guy could be a championship level puzzle piece. His pass blocking will be elite for a FB which improves our OL. He’s a TE at heart ... he can run routes and catch. You can’t count on him just to block if you are playing defense. Goal line game changer.
Depth Chart (Bolded names are starters)
DE: Takk // Vic // Irvin // Ledbetter // Means
DT: Jarrett // Wilkins //Crawford // Senat // Zimmer
LB: Olukon // Jones // Campbell // Riley // Carter
CB: Tru // Oliver // Poole // Ya Sin // Wreh-Wilson
S: Neal // Allen // Kazee // Neasman
OT: Mathews // Schraeder // Saimbrello // Howard
OG: Sitton // Sweitzer // Fusco // A Bars
TE: Hooper // Paulsen // Saubert
WR: Julio // Sanu // Ridley // Ferguson // Gage // Hall
RB: Freeman // Ito // W Hills // B Hill
FB: T Wesco
QB: Ryan // Benkert or Vet FA
A little different than what I've seen thrown around out there, but I think something like this is the right path to take. Sets us up talent & cap wise for not only this year. IMO the draft every year should be based on cap & team needs the next year w/ small FA moves substituting for more current year needs ... that's the way to consistently get ahead.