g-dawg

Fixing the Falcons - sneak peak into offseason, free agency and draft

84 posts in this topic

OK, I thought I would tackle this and didn't  realize how hard this would be - gonna be dayum hard!!! - so I'm already going to fall short and you can give me an "F" or a an "Incomplete" grade or whatever.    Looking at the Falcons, they are in really bad shape as their two biggest stars are still very good but aging.   Matt will be 35 years old next year and likely has 4-5 more good years left but Julio will be 31 years old next year with likely 2 more elite years left and then his decline.   Those two guys best years left will be 2020 and 2021 but the rest of the roster is a huge mess and looks like it will take longer than two years to get it back up to championship caliber.   On top of this, we figure to start over w/ a new head coach and possibly a new GM.   Not pretty but it is what it is and you gotta start where you start.

Obviously there are decisions Arthur has to make with Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff first.   My biggest concern is Arthur will go for the "Quick Fix" with coaching and roster moves - the longer you try to hang on and improve on a flawed roster, the longer it will ultimately take to get to where you want to go.

As I sit here typing this, I'm overwhelmed with the thought that I want to fix this thing quickly but it's not going to happen unless we just start hitting at an abnormally high rate on draft picks and lower to mid tier free agent signings and discover absolute studs in college free agency - just not likely but one can dream.

COACH / GM:

GM - While I have both been a fanboy and a critic of Thomas Dimitroff in his 12 year history of the Falcons, this just feels like the time to make a break.   Having said that, there is no question Dimitroff's tenure has been the best of any GM in Falcons history - granted a low bar, but no one close to what he has done so I will tip my cap to him on the way out.   Having said that, he just has never gotten the lines of scrimmage fixed - remains to be seen if the Lindstrom/McGary picks will work out.   McGary has struggled and Lindstrom almost never got started.  Both were high picks so if they turn out, Dimitroff's history here will look even better and will paper over a hole in his resume'.

I won't throw out specific names at you as it is rather early in the process - but desire a GM that wants to build a franchise from the Lines of Scrimmage first - so NFL front offices like the Ravens, Steelers, Patriots, Colts(now) - teams like that that value winning the lines of scrimmage.   Looking for GM candidate who has that kind of pedigree.

COACH - Again, I don't have a specific candidate in mind just yet.  I do feel like getting an offensive minded head coach who can be paired w/ a wily vet defensive coordinator seems to work well.  Obviously everyone in NFL looking to start over are trying to find their pair of Sean McVay/Wade Phillips type of pairing.

Back to the analysis:

QB - Matt Ryan(34yrs old) - looking at SportsTrac, we are married to him for 2020 and 2021 seasons.   We can move on from him in 2022 and not take a cap hit.   While I would have no plans to move on from Matt now, if something happened and Falcons were this bad again in 2021 or 2022 and there was a legit bonafide stud (i.e.  Trevor Lawrence or possibly Justin Fields) and Falcons had #1 or #2 pick, I wouldn't hesitate to grab a player like that - remember, if we are in that position, means we had yet another colossal failure of a season.    Again, I'm not predicting this will happen nor saying Matt Ryan shouldn't be a Falcon going forward - just saying that the window will open in those years to at least consider the possibility.    This "Falcon for Life" bullsheot has to end - that is a dumb way to run a franchise.   Players greater than Matt Ryan and Julio Jones left there teams to finish out their careers -  Joe Montana and Jerry Rice to name a few.

WR - Julio Jones (30yrs old)  -  with the new contract extension, which was a mistake, Falcons are married to Julio for 2020, 2021 and 2022.    We had Julio locked up for two more years after this year before the extension.   Arthur felt compelled to give the extension - obviously Julio may be the best player in Falcons history and was underpaid but not at the time he was given almost the perfect contract in terms of length of years.   That contract we probably lose Julio a year too early but the new one is probably a few years too late.

 

The rest of the roster is not good enough to borrow from tomorrow's future to try and prop up this franchise for 2020 and 2021.  I wouldn't do it.  I don't even see that many valuable pieces to trade off.  

Other Moves:

Let Walk:

Austin Hooper, TE - I know this one won't be popular but I'm not gonna "G up" Hooper just because he has some nice stats.  I hate to lose him but he will likely garner a contract worth more than he would benefit the Falcons - will be one of those bad contracts that won't age well.    Falcons already have a potential cheap replacement on the roster in Jaedyn Graham.   Bite the bullet and let him go - hopefully he gets enough contract monies that Falcons garner a 4th round comp. pick.

Keanu Neal, SS - I was considering letting Neal walk BEFORE he had his 2nd season-ending injury.   Simply put, bone-crushing and head knocking strong safeties are being legislated out of the NFL.  I had already seen 3-4 legal hits that Neal put on opposing receivers and running backs that were flagged because they "looked bad".    Neal wasn't one dimensional but wasn't great at coverage and you throw in the injuries and cost of re-signing and it just isn't worth it for a team that cannot take on anymore bad contracts.

Vic Beasley, DE - goes w/o saying - not wasting my breath here.

DeVondre Campbell, OLB - same here.   Campbell started his career w/ all kinds of promise but just regressed badly the last two years.  If he wanted to sign some type of 1-year deal to try and resuscitate his value I could be convinced but there would be no promises he would get his starter position back.

 

CUT:

Mohamad Sanu, WR - not really anything Sanu has done wrong but w/ emergence of Calvin Ridley and Justin Gage proving worthy of a bigger role, just an easy place to save money.

DeVonta Freeman, RB - just not a difference maker anymore and salary can no longer be justified.   Average back that should be making 1/2 what he is and the #2 tandem back on a better team than Falcons.

Matt Schaub, QB - another place to save money for an aging vet - time for Kent Benkirk to get his shot.

Ty Sambrailo, OT - another 3 year deal that was really a one year deal. buh-bye

Desmond Trufant, CB - while Trufant can still pay and Falcons don't really save much against the cap by cutting him - just time for a mediocre cover corner to not get paid $11mm of Arthur's money.

I believe all these moves only save about $12mm against the cap but it is just time to clean up the books going forward of underperforming players when compared to salaries.  Should be able to develop guys on roster and/or bring in guys from outside for fraction of cost that will do just as good or better.

 

NFL Free Agency - the GM just needs to turn his phone off the first week in free agency due to Falcons in salary cap hades - after that, look for undervalued guys that fit whatever the coaches system is.  Probably looking mostly at corners, safeties and linebackers.

 

NFL Draft -   Right now I believe today the Falcons would draft #4 overall.   If first two picks in draft are QBs, Falcons will have a chance to maybe get the best player in the draft at #3 or #4 overall.  Hopefully the Falcons can get the best player w/o having to trade up.   While making no attempt to tank - players coming off injury should not be rushed back in a season that is over.   I'm talking about Matt Ryan and Chris Lindstrom specifically.    Look at Matt Ryan - he got hit  11 times against the Rams - would hate to see him come back and get a more serious injury than the ankle sprain he got yesterday.

Falcons need difference makers on both sides of the lines of scrimmage.   The very best available.   They will also likely need corners as well but Kendall Sheffield and Jordan Miller should get lots of plays the rest of the season to find out what we have in them - if they get burnt like my wife's toast - sobeit.

if you can get this 6'5", 265lb monster that can rush the passer or blow up running plays - Chase Young, DE - Ohio State - then do it!!!!

Image result for chase young ohio state

 

Falcons need to get BIGGER and STRONGER.    YES, you want fast players but you want fast players that have sand in their pants.   You want to hold-up  at the POA in the run defense game and you want guys that can push the pocket in the passrush.     Passrushers, Quick/Stout DTs (i.e. Derrick Brown) and cornerbacks are what we need most.   Need some diamond in the rough offensive linemen as well.

Get better at the POA and the corners will start looking better no matter what their talent level.   Build from front to back, not back to front.

 

SUMMARY:     Looking at who we let go, it is fair to say, you are going to make us worse, not better - well, I would first say - we cannot be any worse than we are now.    There will always be some players that will come out of the cornfield straight into a bigger role than we all think.   When opportunity presents itself - someone will step through the door and seize it.

I believe the right GM with an eye for the lines of scrimmage could perhaps aid the lines of scrimmage in his first year or two in targeted/cheap free agency.     I don't see a quick fix to make Falcons a SB contender again.   Believe you are looking at 1 year to be competitive, 2 years to contend for playoffs and then 3 years of good moves to be a SB contender.    Will Matt and Julio still be good then?  That is the question.

Geneaut, cblack, D.B.N. and 5 others like this

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Yep. Reshuffle this whole deck. Accept it's a two year rebuild at minimum. I think Matt will be fine. Julio will start showing his age, but no less than Larry Fitz, who is still a baller. Ridley will be fully seasoned so the passing game should still be fine. Pour into truly investing in and fixing the defense. Chase Young would be the very best blessing from all of this. He's a down right stud. Already has better hand usage than Vic and Takk combined. Has the size to play any defense. With Grady, you'd at least begin to start building some semblance of a threatening pass rush. 

Also, not buying letting Hooper walk. If there is one player to invest in this offseason, he's the one. Him and Davison maybe. Hooper is 25. You pay for future production. He's legit. Developed and has rapport with Matt. You don't walk from that. 

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11 minutes ago, stingbee said:

You don’t let go of a player like Hooper who has established a good chemistry with Matt Ryan and becoming our next Tony G. He will be extended and I’m not worried about him. He has become a star in the NFL after 4 seasons. 

He is not a star, good not elite by any means,he ain't Greg Olsen.

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7 minutes ago, Narcaguga said:

He is not a star, good not elite by any means,he ain't Greg Olsen.

Hooper has been our best player on offense hands down and is on pace to have a year as good or better than Greg Olsen ever had. 

TNFalcon1, NeonDeion, sdogg and 2 others like this

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12 minutes ago, Narcaguga said:

He is not a star, good not elite by any means,he ain't Greg Olsen.

Hooper might flirt with an All Pro nod this year. He's T-1st in TDs, 2nd in yards. He's the most productive TE in the NFC right now. If he keeps this pace, he'll get some good accolades this year that we haven't seen since Tony G left. 

NeonDeion, Cole World, sdogg and 1 other like this

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The only thing I disagree with is that I would keep Hooper. You need a solid target you can always count on and he is that. Everything else I would agree with 100%. 

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Im a huge falcon fan but fully admit that I dont know how contracts work that well. If we can cut those guys and it not hurt us im all for it. Except for Hooper. We need to keep him

sdogg likes this

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52 minutes ago, stingbee said:

You don’t let go of a player like Hooper who has established a good chemistry with Matt Ryan and becoming our next Tony G. He will be extended and I’m not worried about him. He has become a star in the NFL after 4 seasons. 

The next Tony G?

get serious 

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Just now, Falcanuck said:

There’s no reason to let Hoop walk. I’d rather cut Mack than see him leave. Hoop will have a very long and reliable career. Never injured, great hands. He’s probably top 5 at the position. 

Mack has sucked this year and was not great last year. We should 100% be looking for his replacement. Maybe Lindstrom.

⚡Slumerican⚡ likes this

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21 minutes ago, marvinthemartian said:

The only thing I disagree with is that I would keep Hooper. You need a solid target you can always count on and he is that. Everything else I would agree with 100%. 

https://overthecap.com/position/tight-end/

Are you willing to pay $8.5mm per year for Austin Hooper?

It’s easy to say “keep him” without attaching money and cap space to a player.

I like Hooper as well but he is not a difference maker - he’s not Kelce, not Ertz, not Gronk - not even Olsen in his prime.   
 

Falcons don’t have the money to overpay for a nice piece who isn’t a difference maker.   

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4 minutes ago, Dr Long Shot said:

 

Mack has sucked this year and was not great last year. We should 100% be looking for his replacement. Maybe Lindstrom.

Mack is playing with one arm 

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If you're cutting Sanu, I think you have no other choice but to keep Hooper. Besides that, Hooper has been one of the best TE's in the league. We should really feature him more and expand him beyond just a check down guy. 

All down for every cut you name and the other players that are walking. Maybe even consider Rico a cut. I really don't think he's what we need at FS either.

Definitely gotta look the restructuring route. I know it's not a lot left for that though.

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50 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

Wrong 

I would rather keep Tru for 1 more year than save a measly $5 mil. Free can hit the road

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8 minutes ago, Geaux_Falcons said:

If you're cutting Sanu, I think you have no other choice but to keep Hooper. Besides that, Hooper has been one of the best TE's in the league. We should really feature him more and expand him beyond just a check down guy. 

All down for every cut you name and the other players that are walking. Maybe even consider Rico a cut. I really don't think he's what we need at FS either.

Definitely gotta look the restructuring route. I know it's not a lot left for that though.

I will keep asking you all the same question 

“How much are you willing to pay to retain Hooper?”

no one wants to answer this question.

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1 hour ago, Dr Long Shot said:

Hooper has been our best player on offense hands down and is on pace to have a year as good or better than Greg Olsen ever had. 

Really.....oh what offense..hmmm???

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6 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

I will keep asking you all the same question 

“How much are you willing to pay to retain Hooper?”

no one wants to answer this question.

I would pay Hooper the market value for a tight end. 

Now as much as I like Hooper, if there were to be another guy that could be had in the draft to replace him then I would not have a problem letting him walk. I’m not in favor of creating another hole on this team but I’m doing it if I’m confident I can find his replacement. 

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4 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

I will keep asking you all the same question 

“How much are you willing to pay to retain Hooper?”

no one wants to answer this question.

I would give 6 million with incentives to make more. I don't think he's a complete enough TE to warrant anything higher with Kelce/Ertz.

Just based off of the list provided:

Kelce is the best in the league

Ertz is a close 2nd.

Olsen signed his deal a while back and should be coming to the end of his deal.

Jimmy, Reed, Rudolph, Walker, and a slew of others are overpaid for sure. Some slightly of course.

If he's shooting for 8.5 out the gates, I guess we just have to make the better business decision and let him walk.

 

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4 minutes ago, Geaux_Falcons said:

I would give 6 million with incentives to make more. I don't think he's a complete enough TE to warrant anything higher with Kelce/Ertz.

Just based off of the list provided:

Kelce is the best in the league

Ertz is a close 2nd.

Olsen signed his deal a while back and should be coming to the end of his deal.

Jimmy, Reed, Rudolph, Walker, and a slew of others are overpaid for sure. Some slightly of course.

If he's shooting for 8.5 out the gates, I guess we just have to make the better business decision and let him walk.

 

Your deal wouldn’t get it done.   Try again.   Do your research.

Deals get topped.  Lesser players make more than better ones because of salary inflation and it is their turn to get “G’d up”.

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30 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

https://overthecap.com/position/tight-end/

Are you willing to pay $8.5mm per year for Austin Hooper?

It’s easy to say “keep him” without attaching money and cap space to a player.

I like Hooper as well but he is not a difference maker - he’s not Kelce, not Ertz, not Gronk - not even Olsen in his prime.   
 

Falcons don’t have the money to overpay for a nice piece who isn’t a difference maker.   

I agree. These types of young contracts (Im looking at you Trufant and Freeman) just have to stop. Trade him for assets as sadly we need a ton. Very pleased with him this year by the way. His performing in this offense is fools gold.

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Just now, g-dawg said:

Your deal wouldn’t get it done.   Try again.   Do your research.

I mean I thought I did. I don't see Hooper as a complete TE. He's good enough as a blocker. He's yet to put a 1,000 yard season yet. Guess it could change this year, we'll see.

Trey Burton is getting 8 million and he's probably the best blocking TE in the league, and has just as much receiving ability as Hooper. Chicago doesn't use him for obvious reasons(QB).

I don't see how Hoop justifies getting more when he's not even on par with Burton as a blocker, and more of a receiving TE. That's why I say 6 million with incentives for more. If he wants more, then let someone give him Ertz/Kelce money. He's not that dynamic though.

Chitown2ATL_Falcon likes this

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