Francis York Morgan Posted January 2, 2020 Share Posted January 2, 2020 Fair warning – this is a longass post and I didn’t try too hard to trim it. I figured I’d use part of my time off to throw something together that I think is at least halfway realistic (if optimistic) for the team. I’m coming at this from the standpoint of someone who thinks a few things: 1) Koetter is a mess, but he’s staying, and the best thing we can do at this point is give him the pieces to make his offense look better. 2) Our cap is currently horribly skewed in favor of our offense. 3) Our roster is more top heavy than a bobblehead. This offseason aims to fix all of these things by targeting less expensive FAs that are scheme fits and trimming the fat and bloated contracts – something I think McKay will already have a hand in this season. First off, I’ll start with a few coaching moves I think that we should make. We may have more openings, but these are the ones that make sense to me, and I honestly don’t feel like nitpicking over every aspect of the coaching staff. Coaching Hires Bill Callahan, OL coach (fire Chris Morgan): Callahan has been a great OL coach for the last decade plus, especially considering what he’s often working with. He has past experience with Quinn and would be a boon for these rookies on the OL. Eric Washington, DL coach: The ultimate move would be sniping Marinelli if the Cowboys clear out their coaching staff, but with Garrett still there, I’m not sure that happens. Washington is likely a goner since he was the DC for the Panthers, but dude is a terrific DL coach that has worked with top 10 pass rushes his entire career. Simpson is our current guy, and I don’t hate him, but if we offer Washington a joint role after Travis Jones left, maybe with some more money and flavor to the position, I think he’d be a great addition. Regardless, we need to do what it takes to get him. Marquand Manuel, DB coach/pass defense coordinator: This involves Manuel swallowing some pride, so I’m not sure it happens, but I think Manuel being here would take some pressure off Morris while he’s taking on more responsibilities as the DC. Manuel is still a good coach, and I’m not sure Quinn necessarily wanted to fire him, but being a DC seemed like too much responsibility and I don’t think he adjusted terribly well. This position would let him learn more and do what he does best in the meantime. Now, let’s get into the fun part of the offseason – player additions and losses. Cap Figure Before Trades and Cuts: ~9.2 million under This number is figuring in the ~12 million we apparently freed up via restructures. We were sitting at a projected -2.8 million before that. Trades Desmond Trufant – traded to the Eagles for a 2020 3rd round pick, swap 2020 4th round picks: This is the only major trade I can see the team making. It’s tough, since Trufant is a good (if divisive) player, and he’s easily the best CB we have. But his contract has a massive cap hit, and the team’s defense looked fine without him. His trade value is as high as it’ll be for the foreseeable future. Not to mention, he doesn’t exactly fit Quinn and Morris’s prototype for CBs. Bringing in less expensive vets and competition via the draft would help this team considerably more than sticking with Trufant will. Judging off earlier reports, the Falcons were exploring trading Trufant, but the sticking point was compensation. With the big issue for the Falcons being dead money and freeing up cap space for 2020, and the Eagles needing both CB help and having a good amount of open cap in 2020, this is a trade that works out phenomenally for both teams. As dead cap is tradable, the Falcons will make this trade with half of the dead cap for 2020 (10.2 mil) shifting to the Eagles cap. Because of this, the Falcons will only receive a 3rd round pick while swapping 4th round picks. This equates to a high 4th round pick in compensation. More importantly, the Falcons get 10 million in cap relief for 2020. Meanwhile, since the Falcons are still taking 5.1 mil dead cap in 2020, 5.8 mil in 2021, and 1.4 mil in 2022, the Eagles get a starting caliber CB with cap hits of ~10 mil the first two years and 12.5 mil in year 3. That’s a bargain and a half for a CB-starved team, something they’ll not be able to find either in FA or where they’re picking in the draft, especially with the pick they’re trading. And he’s cuttable after the 1st year for no dead money, if that’s the route they choose. Perfect trade for both teams. Haason Reddick – Cardinals trade to us for a 6th round pick: The Cardinals have played Reddick horribly, swapping positions on an every season basis and even multiple times within seasons. I doubt he’ll take much to pry away, especially since he’s in the last year of his rookie contract and hasn’t looked good at all. If he fails here, it costs us 2 million and a 6th round pick. But if he plays well, we have first rights to signing an immensely talented football player, including a 5th year option if he balls out to an almost unrealistic extent. We have little at LB right now, so this is an easy move to make, both realistic and beneficial for both sides. Cap Figure after Trufant and Reddick Trades: ~17.2 million under Cuts Let’s get the easy ones out of the way before looking at the tough one. Luke Stocker – frees up 2.6 million He’s been more of a liability than an asset for this team, and retaining him doesn’t make any sense in the short or long term. He’s not a player worth 3.35 million. Cut him. Ty Sambrailo – frees up 3.7 million Sambrailo’s TD was cute and all, but again, the dude’s contract is not appropriate at all for what he brought to the team. Gono is a better backup and we can either draft someone or sign a guy after cuts to be a swing tackle for less. Worst comes to worst, he’s not going to be exactly lighting the FA world on fire. I can see us bringing him back later for ~1 mil on a 1 year contract if we don’t find anyone else. Allen Bailey – frees up 4.5 million Bailey hasn’t been atrocious or anything, but the dude certainly isn’t worth 6 million, especially when that money can go towards free agents at the same spot that I think are a better team fit. Alex Mack – frees up 8 million The writing is on the wall for this one. Exchanging jerseys with Wes Schweitzer makes me think it’s all but certain he’s going to be cut and retire immediately after. It sucks, especially not having someone guaranteed to take over at center on the roster (I do think Schweitzer looked better there than at any other position in PS, so I’m more comfortable with him than I think many of you would be), but I think this is one decision the FO has already made. Declined Options Matt Schaub – frees up 2.4 million I’ll be honest – I don’t think anyone is going to pick up Schaub when we let him go. So if we still need a QB after everything, he’ll be there waiting. If not, this is a free 2.4 million. I’d like to get a look at Benkert and Etling anyways – don’t trust Schaub to play up to that Seattle game if Ryan does go down. Keanu Neal – frees up 6.5 million Before the injury-makes-it-guaranteed-folks – I did a good amount of reading, and I’m pretty sure it’s saying that the option is guaranteed for injury once the new league year begins. Pretty sure we can rescind it beforehand, but it’s guaranteed regardless of injury if we don’t. If someone can show me something saying otherwise, please do! I won’t be broken up about keeping him. I love Keanu, but players don’t usually just come back from consecutive season ending injuries. There are always exceptions, but this is a move I think we need to make. We regretted not moving on from Willie Mo earlier, and I’m getting similar vibes here. Post June 1st cuts This is assuming a new CBA is finalized. If not, feel free to throw these under normal cuts, because I don’t see either guy being in this team’s future. PS: These cuts are going to be factored into the cap, but strictly for the sake of signing rookies, seeing as the cap relief doesn’t factor into the first free agency period. Devonta Freeman – frees up 6.5 million This one sucks. But again, Free hasn’t played up to his contract – whether that’s his fault or Koetter’s garbage scheme, he ultimately isn’t worth the 9.5 million he’s scheduled to make in 2020. I wish him the best, but it’s a business decision I think is going to be made. James Carpenter – frees up 3 million This move only frees up another 2 million compared to what an outright cut would, but that’s enough to sign the guy who’s becoming a FA and who has outplayed him. Brown isn’t especially cuttable right now, and he does have a higher ceiling than Carpenter, so I chose to keep him instead of Carpenter to compete at that LG spot. Cap Figure after Cuts: ~54.5 million under (9.5 million for rookies and emergencies available after June 1st) Before getting into NFL-wide free agency, let’s look at our own guys. I won’t elaborate on the ones I’m letting go and think are less important. Here are the folks I expect we’ll be letting go to explore their other options: Letting Go: Vic Beasley: Less that he’s so important to the team, but more because he’ll likely get the largest contract and be the most important for the comp pick formula. We’ll be replacing him with a familiar face that is arguably more consistent on a day-to-day basis (and a lot cheaper). De’Vondre Campbell: I think Campbell might get paid more than anyone expects on the open market, and certainly more than I expect we’ll be willing to pay him. He’s not a leader, he’s openly admitted complacency after the Browns game, and he’s altogether more “average” than his physical tools suggest he should be. Matt Bosher: We saw his replacement during the last half of 2020. He’s not as good as Allen, period. He doesn’t need to come back. Jack Crawford: Not going to be terribly expensive, so I wouldn’t hate bringing him back, but the dude was practically invisible all year. I don’t think he’s a priority. Keith Smith: He isn’t a bad player, but he’s thoroughly mediocre. I don’t want mediocre as a starter, period, even if he doesn’t see the field that often. Re-Sign (2020 cap hit in parenthesis): Austin Hooper – 5 years, 52 million (7 mil): The splurge. If he wants more, I think we tag him. It’s doable, especially with not having any other imminent contracts to dish out, and while I hate giving so much to yet another player on offense, we had some big cuts and my plan is to use most of our remaining cap on the defense anyways. With Koetter returning, I feel like Hooper is a borderline necessity on this team. Making the cap hit 7 mil so the contract isn’t quite as backloaded is incentive to sign, and having a 10+ APY should satisfy him and his agent. Tyeler Davison – 3 years, 8.5 million (2.5 mil): A pleasant surprise, but he got no interest after leaving the Saints and is more of a rotational piece than someone who will ever develop into a superstar. This is similar to the Jack Crawford contract from before – great value but more than I think he’d get anywhere else. Adrian Clayborn – 2 years, 4.5 million (2 mil): Possibly our best pass rusher all year, but he’s 32 and signed for less than 2 mil last year. He’s a priority but I don’t see other teams looking to pay him. Ryan Allen – 4 years, 7.5 million (1.5 mil): He got paid a bit less in his stint with the Pats, but we definitely ought to pay him enough to lock him up. This should be a fair enough number to do so. Younghoe Koo – 3 years, 5 million (1.5 mil): I know some think he could get more on the open market, but he seems to struggle with distance and couldn’t stick with a team before us. I think this is fair value and what he brings to onsides kicks is special. Wes Schweitzer – 3 years, 4.5 million (1 mil): He isn’t getting paid big if we let him go, but I do think he’s a solid backup and could totally compete at both guard spots and the center position. Give him a cheap long term deal that gives us freedom to extend him if he does well. Better value than Carpenter or Brown next year regardless. Kenjon Barner – 2 years, 2 million (1 mil): Weems got less as a return specialist, and he was a great gunner too. It’s a slight raise over what he got last year, but he earned that much. Think he’s a great guy for the locker room and the type of guy you keep around for cheap. Vet Min Signings (if they aren’t on this list I don’t care what happens to them, yes, that means Harlow/Hardy/everyone else who is thoroughly mediocre or not worth talking about): Blidi Wreh-Wilson Steven Means Jamar Taylor Sharrod Neasman Cap Figure After Our Re-Signings: ~38 million under (not counting vet min signings) This leaves us a good amount to play with in free agency. I’ll be targeting certain players who are projected to be cut since they don’t count against the comp pick formula. I’m also trying to add more guys that won’t cost as much but can bring a veteran presence, as well as balancing out the roster with mid and low-level contracts to make the roster less top-heavy. Free Agency Bruce Irvin, DE – 2 years, 10 million (4 mil): Irvin has experience in Quinn’s defense and is, by all accounts, a great team player. Dude is 32 and coming off a season where he got paid under 4 mil, so I feel like this is a reasonable contract. He’s a pass rush specialist almost exclusively, but he replaces Beasley for a fraction of the cost and doesn’t take plays off. Tramon Williams, CB – 1 year, 4 million (4 mil): At 36 y/o, this might come as a bit of a surprise, but I think this team – especially the CBs – need more of a veteran presence in the locker room. Williams has been very good this season in spite of his age and I think he has at least one good year left. Akeem King, CB – 2 years, 4.5 million (2 mil): King was originally a Quinn pick, so the familiarity is there, and he’s looked good in limited playtime with the Seahawks. It’s a natural fit, assuming the Seahawks don’t outbid us. If we land him, he can compete at CB and isn’t going to be the potential liability a rookie would be due to his experience in the scheme. Anthony Sherman, FB – 2 years, 2.5 million (1 mil): Sherman is one of the best FBs in the NFL and isn’t even making a million a year with the Chiefs. This might seem like too much for a guy that Koetter uses on 10% or so of snaps but having a good FB has been sorely missed in so many situations this year, whether that be runs on 3rd/4th and short or on the goal line. He’ll help this offense, and I’m getting a possible replacement later in the draft as well. Ted Karras, OC – 2 years, 2.5 million (1 mil): Karras hasn’t gotten much love since he’s replacing David Andrews, but after watching the Patriots a decent bit, I think he’s filled in admirably. Part of that is having the best OL coach in the NFL, but I think Karras is a good guy to bring in to compete at center that won’t cost much at all. He’s young and offers proven depth at worst, but he’s way down the list on guys that’ll get paid as OL in FA. Stefen Wisniewski, OG – 3 years, 10 million (3 mil): Wisniewski has bounced around a good bit in his time in the NFL, but I’d argue he’s the best journeyman OL we could get in this FA class. He’s similar to Chris Chester in the sense that I think he’s underrated, but he could step in and be our 2nd best guard and compete at center Day 1. The best contract he’s ever gotten averaged 2.5 mil a year, and he got paid under 1 mil this last year, so I think this would be enough to lure him to the ATL. If Cut, Calais Campbell, DE – 3 years, 32 million (8 mil): This is the only “big” FA signing I have us making. The Jaguars are up as tight against the cap worse than we are with less than 2 mil free right now. They have several holes on the roster and still need to pay Yannick Ngakoue. The best candidates they have for release are Marcell Dareus and Calais Campbell, the two of which would free up 20 mil and 15 mil respectively. The big deal here is that Campbell won’t count against the comp pick formula due to being a cut, and while he’s 33 years old, he’s still playing at a terrifically high level. I’m basing the contract here on a more updated (read: more expensive) version of the one Julius Peppers received with the Bears when he was the same age. The contract can be structured as an easy out in Year 3. He can play DT and DE and brings a veteran presence to the DL. If Cut, Kiko Alonso, LB – 3 years, 16 million (4.5 mil): Alonso has barely played for the Saints this year and is getting 6.5 million next year. With the Saints having less than 5 mil in cap space, I doubt Alonso sticks around. He’s still played well on a yearly basis and he’s only 29 years old, and he can both compete at many LB spots on this team with his experience. Cap Figure After Free Agency: ~10.5 million under This is the cap I’m leaving for the vet min contracts and our draft picks. Most of the contracts that I gave out weren’t heavily backloaded because I didn’t want them to be too unrealistic (ie: 4 mil cap hit year 1, 14 mil cap hit year 2) but go ahead and ix-nay a few players if you think we can’t fit them as described here. Big area of criticism for this draft will probably be unaddressed needs, but I have a mentality of going almost exclusively BPA. I used several draft boards, mostly Draft Network, but I’m sure there will be a lot of change leading up to the draft (as always). With the 16th pick in the NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa. If Delpit falls this far, you can pencil him in, but he never did in the mocks I simulated while Epenesa consistently made it to pick 16. In a lot of ways, this could be an even better pick. Epenesa is a monster of a man, a man forced to play in a run-defense-first scheme who still managed to get a ton of pressure on the QB. He has unteachable physical gifts and there are few players better to learn from in a DT/DE role than Calais Campbell. This is arguably not our position of greatest need, but it’s easily the best value given how the draft is likely to fall. With the 47th pick in the NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford. Being a former wide receiver should resonate with this staff, and Adebo is only getting better. Dude is tall and, unsurprisingly, plays the ball like a WR. Dude has great hips to drive on the ball and is hyper competitive, whether that be tackling in space or contesting the ball. Having Tramon Williams should help with the nuances in his game, as should our investment in this coaching staff. With the 59th pick in the NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State. Dobbins is the kind of well rounded, every down running back this team desperately needs. He’s got tremendous contact balance, power, and great hands. He shows impressive agility and athleticism given his size too, and he pass blocks better than even a lot of NFL players (looking at you, Freeman). I think someone like Dobbins compares favorably to other RBs Koetter used effectively – MJD, Muscle Hamster – and after using this kind of draft capital, I think DK would be eager to prove he can run the ball well. It’s an investment based on both the team’s needs and DK’s ego. With the 78th pick in the NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington. Not a need? Maybe, but Bryant can be a special player, and two TE sets would improve this team’s unpredictability drastically. DK clearly likes running two TE sets, as seen in TB, and Bryant can compete with Graham for that #2 TE spot. This also gives us flexibility if one of the two goes down so that our two TE sets don’t have to completely fall off the map. Bryant is so dangerous in open space, and while he has work to do as a blocker, he’s plenty willing. He’s a similar player to George Kittle, and I don’t say that lightly. With the 85th pick in the NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Antoine Winfield Jr, S, Minnesota. Possibly my #2 safety in the draft behind Delpit, though McKinney is likely 2A in that conversation. Winfield is a playmaker and a fiery leader, and with how late he’s projected to go, there’s no player in this range more capable of transforming a defense. Winfield does have off-field concerns that make me somewhat hesitant, but at this point in the draft, that’s a risk worth taking. With the 117th pick in the NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Richard LeCounte III, S, Georgia. Excuse the garbage highlights – it’s still early in the draft season. UGA homers will likely claim LeCounte will never last this long, but I’m just going based off what I see on current draft boards. Two safeties back to back might seem odd, but safety is a need, even with Allen looking good at SS and Kazee doing alright at FS. Honestly, it’s easy to argue we should have addressed safety even more in the draft or FA, but I don’t see good value available after Delpit (McKinney keeps going late round 1) and FA was pretty sparse. LeCounte is a talented dude who should play his way into plenty of playing time on ST early and could even snipe away a starting role eventually. With the 139th pick in the NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech. When you talk about sudden athletes in this LB class, after Simmons (since Moses didn’t declare) I don’t think there’s a more sudden guy than Brooks. Brooks might slip this far due to his small school, but the guy has sky high potential as a blitzing LB and all the athletic traits to do well in coverage. His biggest issue is his struggles with disengaging against blockers, but that was a critique of Debo too. He tackles well, and he tackles hard. He needs to be a Dirty Bird. With the 205th pick in the NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College. Say hello to the 2nd A.J. of the draft and your Falcons fullback of the future. Dillon is a 250 lb. power back with a capital P, a dude who loves to hit and brings the weight behind his pads to do so often. He doesn’t fall forward, he powers forward. He’s a lot faster than you might expect, too. It’d be nice having a fullback who can actually run if need be, and learning under Sherman is about as good as it gets for a prep course. Final Roster (before cuts in TC): QB: Matt Ryan, Kurt Benkert, Daniel Etling RB: J.K. Dobbins, Ito Smith, Quadree Ollison, Kenjon Barner FB: Anthony Sherman, A.J. Dillon WR: Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheaus, Christian Blake, Devin Gray TE: Austin Hooper, Hunter Bryant, Jaeden Graham, Alex Gray OT: Jake Matthews, Kaleb McGary, Matt Gono, Lukayus McNeil OG: Chris Lindstrom, Stefen Wisniewski, Jamon Brown OC: Ted Karras, Wes Schweitzer DE: Calais Campbell, Takk McKinley, A.J. Epenesa, Adrian Clayborn, Bruce Irvin, John Cominsky, Steven Means, Austin Larkin DT: Grady Jarrett, Tyeler Davison, Deadrin Senat, Jacob Tuoti-Mariner (keep in mind, a lot of the DEs I listed play DT too) LB: Deion Jones, Kiko Alonso, Foyesade Oloukon, Haason Reddick, Jordyn Brooks CB: Tramon Williams, Isaiah Oliver, Kendall Sheffield, Paulson Adebo, Akeem King, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Jordan Miller, Jamar Taylor S: Ricardo Allen, Damontae Kazee, Antoine Winfield Jr., Richard LeCounte III, Sharrod Neasman K: Younghoe Koo P: Ryan Allen LS: Josh Harris Red = additionsBlue = re-signed Thoughts/feedback? It’s a super rough draft and I know things are likely to change, it’s all speculative, there are spots with less depth etc. I seriously considered going QB early-ish in the draft, but the class isn’t that strong and the value was never there. Shooter Says, Falcons_Frenzy, citsalp and 16 others 19 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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