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Goober Pyle

Five 2020 offseason moves for the Falcons: Bill Barnwell predicts trades, free agency, cuts

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https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28648779/five-2020-offseason-moves-nfc-teams-bill-barnwell-predicts-trades-free-agency-cuts

Just posting the Falcons part of the article.

 

Atlanta Falcons

Projected 2020 cap space: $6.1 million

1. Clear out cap space. The Falcons don't have much room to work with as they try to rebuild their defense. What's even worse is that they don't even really have all that much flexibility to create room; after converting $12.5 million of Matt Ryan's $20.5 million base salary into a bonus in January, there's no other massive salary they would feel comfortable turning into a signing bonus for space. The best Atlanta can really do is convert $10 million of Julio Jones' $11.2 million base salary into a signing bonus, which would free up $7.5 million in room.

Instead, the Falcons are going to have to create room the hard way. They can start by cutting Devonta Freeman, who has failed to live up to the expectations he set while excelling under Kyle Shanahan. The team would be responsible for $6 million in dead money for Freeman, but it would free up $3.5 million in space. Adding Ty Sambrailo to the discard pile would free up an additional $3.7 million in room.

Given that they still need to leave space to sign their draft picks, there's just not a clear path for the Falcons to add a couple of stars on the defensive side of the ball. They're more realistically looking at one star or a couple of depth pieces. And even that requires the Falcons to make a couple of tough choices ...

2. Let Austin Hooper follow Vic Beasley Jr. out the door. In a move I've never seen, the Falcons publicly announced before free agency even began that they weren't going to negotiate with Beasley. I was a bit surprised; they picked up Beasley's fifth-year option last year, and the former first-rounder racked up 6.5 sacks over the second half of the season. This is likely the right move, though, given Beasley's inconsistency.

As tough as it might be, Atlanta needs to pursue the same track with its starting tight end. Hooper set career highs in catches (75), receiving yards (787) and touchdowns (six) despite missing three games in 2019, but the Falcons already have too much committed on the offensive side of the ball. This is a team that already has four players making top-tier money at their respective positions in Ryan, Jones, Jake Matthews and Alex Mack (plus Freeman if he's not cut) and three recent first-round picks in Calvin Ridley, Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom. This team really needs to take the assets it has left and commit them to fixing the defense, and that means letting Hooper leave.

I suppose it's possible the Falcons could franchise Hooper and try to work out a trade for a draft pick or a defensive piece, though it might limit what they can do in the early days of free agency or prevent them from making a move altogether if he signs the tag. The dream would be to negotiate a trade for a pass-rusher; Yannick Ngakoue comes to mind because of how thin the Jags are at tight end, though Atlanta would probably need to throw in a meaningful pick to make that deal work.

3. Find a No. 1 pass-rusher. The Falcons have to be considered candidates for each of the top available edge rushers, though they're going to need to get creative to compete for Jadeveon Clowney. This could be a landing spot for Dante Fowler Jr. or short-term options like Robert Quinn or Jason Pierre-Paul.

Atlanta's late-season surge means it will be picking 16th in April's draft. The Falcons could move down and add extra picks, but it wouldn't be the worst idea if they ended up using their pick on an edge defender, too.

4. Add a nose tackle. The Falcons got by with former Saints backup Tyeler Davison in 2019 and could bring back Davison, but there's something to be said for adding an impact defender next to Grady Jarrett. The Falcons were much better against the run (14th in DVOA) than the pass (25th), but there's a chance for them to get even better against the run if they upgrade the nose and finally get a healthy season (or a healthier season) from safety Keanu Neal.

The big names in this category could be fun. I'd love to see Jarrett next to Ndamukong Suh, who is among the free agents on the market. Michael Pierce is a brutally effective run defender who could fit in Atlanta. Danny Shelton was great for the Patriots in 2019 and might come at a cheaper price. This is also a spot Atlanta might address in the draft.

5. Draft a running back. If the Falcons cut Freeman, they would be left with one of the league's least-imposing running back rooms. The good news is that there's virtually an endless supply of useful running backs. Atlanta could easily add someone like Lamar Miller or Carlos Hyde on a one-year deal without significantly impacting its ability to address the defense.

In the big picture, though, it makes sense for this team to look at drafting a running back in the middle rounds to take over. Atlanta has had success finding guys like Freeman and Tevin Coleman there in the past, and it can use the extra second-rounder it has from the Mohamed Sanu deal with the Patriots to trade down and grab extra selections.

 

 

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People are under estimating Brian Hill who averaged just a hair under 5 yards a carry... I think it's time for the HC to let him run a few games,, If they do.. I think they will see he is worthy of playing time. I mean , by him playing as well as he has with the very little chance of showing what he could do if given a whole game..  Just not fair to the guy who has worked hard for the moment to play..  Give him just one whole game and if he don't getter done,, then fine.. we can go on,, But Dude... Give the man a shot !! He is a very strong Back.. and will show it if they just give him the chance.

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I like the idea of signing Michael Pierce or Danny Shelton and then drafting a 330 lb + DT in the first 3 rounds. Michael and Danny are both under 28 years old and over 330lbs and another DT in the same mold will give us rotational depth and the ability to stack these huge guys in short yardage situations.

TD is an idiot so he'd never do something smart like that.

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Plenty of great RBs available in later rounds of the draft and in free agency. We need linemen on defense and offense and a LB with picks 1-3, AJ Epensa, Jordan Elliott or Tyler Biadasz, etc....Akeem Davis Gaither App State.  for LB, he's nasty. 

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1 hour ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

If RB is an issue...and it clearly is, drafting one in ‘the middle rounds’ is akin to throwing spaghetti on the wall and hoping it sticks.

TD/DQ are month-to-month at this point.  They need a Day 1 starter from either 16/47/55.

RBs are pretty much plug and play in this day and drafting one in the 1st is a waste. We got way more issues on the team then using that kind of capital on a RB.

You don't give a RB a huge second contract and you don't draft one in the 1st. Hope we learn these lessons.

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If we go DL in the 1st and OL with our first pick in the 2nd, I don't care what we do with the rest of the draft.  CB, S, RB, TE, and LB could all use some love at this point.

I'm also ready to move on from Allen and Neal.  Perhaps I'm a poor judge of safeties, but Neal has missed most of the past two seasons, and Allen just doesn't seem to be worth what we're paying him.  I'd rather stick Kazee at FS and grab a SS via the draft or FA.  Maybe keep Neal around to see if he can stay healthy and draft someone in the mid/late rounds as insurance.

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2 hours ago, Draftnut57 said:

People are under estimating Brian Hill who averaged just a hair under 5 yards a carry... I think it's time for the HC to let him run a few games,, If they do.. I think they will see he is worthy of playing time. I mean , by him playing as well as he has with the very little chance of showing what he could do if given a whole game..  Just not fair to the guy who has worked hard for the moment to play..  Give him just one whole game and if he don't getter done,, then fine.. we can go on,, But Dude... Give the man a shot !! He is a very strong Back.. and will show it if they just give him the chance.

I just don't see it in Hill.  Nice back up, but I don't think he is the guy I want leading the charge.  I want a Swift or Dobbins.

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49 minutes ago, MAD597 said:

RBs are pretty much plug and play in this day and drafting one in the 1st is a waste. We got way more issues on the team then using that kind of capital on a RB.

You don't give a RB a huge second contract and you don't draft one in the 1st. Hope we learn these lessons.

I think that's a bit of a faulty assumption.  Since you're not a fan of Round 1-2 picks on RB, let's just look at 2019...Round 3-5

Darrell Henderson
David Montgomery
Devin Singletary
Damien Harris
Alexander Mattison
Bryce Love
Justice Hill
Benny Snell
Tony Pollard
Ryquell Armstead
Qadree Ollison
Jordan Scarlett

There were some what I would term marginal successes in that group.  Montgomery was disappointing.  Henderson was non-existent as was Damien Harris.

Singletary was the best from this bunch amidst a crowded depth chart and Mattision showed well spelling Dalvin Cook.  But everyone else?  Blech.

Want to do 2018?  OK

Royce Freeman
Nyheim Hines
Mark Walton
Ito Smith
Kalen Ballage
Chase Edmonds
Jaylen Samuels
Jordan Wilkins

2017 was a good year for RB's later on...Kamara, Kareem Hunt, James Conner, Aaron Jones and Chris Carson came out of that draft.  Other contributors include Jamaal Williams and Tarik Cohen.  

But this idea that you can simply draft a 200-250 touch/carry guy on Day 3, even late Day 2 with any degree of certainty/confidence has become one of the drafts largest urban legends.

And the Falcons depth chart at RB is garbage.

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

I think that's a bit of a faulty assumption.  Since you're not a fan of Round 1-2 picks on RB, let's just look at 2019...Round 3-5

Darrell Henderson
David Montgomery
Devin Singletary
Damien Harris
Alexander Mattison
Bryce Love
Justice Hill
Benny Snell
Tony Pollard
Ryquell Armstead
Qadree Ollison
Jordan Scarlett

There were some what I would term marginal successes in that group.  Montgomery was disappointing.  Henderson was non-existent as was Damien Harris.

Singletary was the best from this bunch amidst a crowded depth chart and Mattision showed well spelling Dalvin Cook.  But everyone else?  Blech.

Want to do 2018?  OK

Royce Freeman
Nyheim Hines
Mark Walton
Ito Smith
Kalen Ballage
Chase Edmonds
Jaylen Samuels
Jordan Wilkins

2017 was a good year for RB's later on...Kamara, Kareem Hunt, James Conner, Aaron Jones and Chris Carson came out of that draft.  Other contributors include Jamaal Williams and Tarik Cohen.  

But this idea that you can simply draft a 200-250 touch/carry guy on Day 3, even late Day 2 with any degree of certainty/confidence has become one of the drafts largest urban legends.

And the Falcons depth chart at RB is garbage.

 

 

 

How dare you come at this board with factual information and not an opinion! 
 

But seriously, we should use a 2nd rounder on an actual threat. 

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5 minutes ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

But this idea that you can simply draft a 200-250 touch/carry guy on Day 3, even late Day 2 with any degree of certainty/confidence has become one of the drafts largest urban legends.

And the Falcons depth chart at RB is garbage.

 

 

Largely agreed. It's like "You can find a franchise QB outside of the first round" talk. Yes, you can. Brady and Wilson are examples. But largely speaking, once you get to a certain point in the draft, you're REALLY fishing. 

The top RBs usually go early, not because their RBs but because their talented. The more talented players always go earlier. Do some slip through for various reasons (i.e. production, red flags, injuries, level of comp)? Yes. But you aren't finding a bellcow back at pick #112. There is a reason the Pats took Michel in the first. Talented player.

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If we add to the RB group, I agree it should be done in a meaningful way.   However that doesn’t mean it should be 1st rd.   There will be RBs available in 2nd and 3rd rd that can play.

Most years now a RB doesn’t even get pulled off the board until late 20’s anyway.   We got Tevin Coleman in 3rd and Freeman in 4th.  Cards took David Johnson in the 3rd.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to draft an RB early but if one fell to #47 or #55 and was good value I might take one.   There’s just not a lot of value in RBs.  Just look at Super Bowl this year and most years in the 2000’s.

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1 minute ago, g-dawg said:

If we add to the RB group, I agree it should be done in a meaningful way.   However that doesn’t mean it should be 1st rd.   There will be RBs available in 2nd and 3rd rd that can play.

Most years now a RB doesn’t even get pulled off the board until late 20’s anyway.   We got Tevin Coleman in 3rd and Freeman in 4th.  Cards took David Johnson in the 4th.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to draft an RB early but if one fell to #47 or #55 and was good value I might take one.   There’s just not a lot of value in RBs.  Just look at Super Bowl this year and most years in the 2000’s.

Yep, I would not dare take a RB before the 3rd rd with as many trench issues as this team has. 

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4 minutes ago, vel said:

Largely agreed. It's like "You can find a franchise QB outside of the first round" talk. Yes, you can. Brady and Wilson are examples. But largely speaking, once you get to a certain point in the draft, you're REALLY fishing. 

The top RBs usually go early, not because their RBs but because their talented. The more talented players always go earlier. Do some slip through for various reasons (i.e. production, red flags, injuries, level of comp)? Yes. But you aren't finding a bellcow back at pick #112. There is a reason the Pats took Michel in the first. Talented player.

There aren’t many bellcow backs anymore in modern era.   We actually had more this year than most with Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffery.

There are tons of examples of 3rd/4th rd backs that produce at a high level.

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1 minute ago, g-dawg said:

If we add to the RB group, I agree it should be done in a meaningful way.   However that doesn’t mean it should be 1st rd.   There will be RBs available in 2nd and 3rd rd that can play.

Most years now a RB doesn’t even get pulled off the board until late 20’s anyway.   We got Tevin Coleman in 3rd and Freeman in 4th.  Cards took David Johnson in the 4th.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to draft an RB early but if one fell to #47 or #55 and was good value I might take one.   There’s just not a lot of value in RBs.  Just look at Super Bowl this year and most years in the 2000’s.

One of the differences though to this off-season versus any other though is that I think TD/DQ are operating in a ‘gun to the head’ mentality.

Even if the concept of value for drafting RB’s is 100% spot-on (I wouldn’t term it that, but that’s another discussion)...both need to have problems solved personnel wise immediately or else it’s their job(s).  And you’d be hard-pressed to finder a weaker positional group on the Falcons roster than RB.  I simply don’t think TD/DQ can take a value-based approach here this year.

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2 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

There aren’t many bellcow backs anymore in modern era.   We actually had more this year than most with Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffery.

There are tons of examples of 3rd/4th rd backs that produce at a high level.

I'm not saying bellcow in the since of ~300 carries, but more lead back. Freeman was that, but he doesn't have the same juice anymore. 

And yes, there are tons of examples, but there are few recently and few that will come from this draft. You've got six RBs in this draft that can push for that:

Swift, Dobbins, Edwards-Helaire, Taylor, Moss, Akers

After that, you're looking at a lot of committee guys. They can be productive....in a system that has other good backs. We have a bunch of JAGs so adding a committee back to that isn't really fixing the run game. 

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12 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

There aren’t many bellcow backs anymore in modern era.   We actually had more this year than most with Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffery.

There are tons of examples of 3rd/4th rd backs that produce at a high level.

DK just doesn't have a good running game unless he has a bellcow though. If we want a good running game this year, I don't think it'll be by committee. Dobbins would do more for this offense than any pick I can think of.

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13 minutes ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

One of the differences though to this off-season versus any other though is that I think TD/DQ are operating in a ‘gun to the head’ mentality.

Even if the concept of value for drafting RB’s is 100% spot-on (I wouldn’t term it that, but that’s another discussion)...both need to have problems solved personnel wise immediately or else it’s their job(s).  And you’d be hard-pressed to finder a weaker positional group on the Falcons roster than RB.  I simply don’t think TD/DQ can take a value-based approach here this year.

White I don't totally agree with your initial thought about the value and usability of early round RBs vs. later round RBs, I think you make a good point regarding the approach DQ and TD might take regarding RB.

They might very well be feeling the pressure and go with the easiest and quickest path to upgrading the RB group and fixing the run game, which is to go RB early in the draft. That is exactly why I feel like there is a reasonable chance that we draft a RB relatively early this year, even if I don't really agree with that approach.

I think that DQ and TD know that our running game sucked last season, and that the deficiencies in that part of our game made our offense much less effective than it should be. It had repercussions, and it should be a priority to fix it this year, especially after watching multiple good ground attacks take the league by storm during the season and the playoffs, so they might be inclined to "draft it and forget it".

On the other hand though, it could be argued that running the football actually might be one of our biggest weaknesses as a team, regardless of DQ/TD operating from a "gun to the head" mentality. So it is going to be pretty interesting to see which way we go, and what they think.

Personally, I think DQ is more on the hot seat for not fixing the D than for the state of the running game, so I still think D takes priority over a RB, even with DQ/TD having a gun to the head. I would be fine with a 3rd round RB, and I could potentially come around on spending one of the two 2. rounders if we go D with the other picks, but a first rounder is too much for me this year..

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3 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28648779/five-2020-offseason-moves-nfc-teams-bill-barnwell-predicts-trades-free-agency-cuts

Just posting the Falcons part of the article.

 

Atlanta Falcons

Projected 2020 cap space: $6.1 million

1. Clear out cap space. The Falcons don't have much room to work with as they try to rebuild their defense. What's even worse is that they don't even really have all that much flexibility to create room; after converting $12.5 million of Matt Ryan's $20.5 million base salary into a bonus in January, there's no other massive salary they would feel comfortable turning into a signing bonus for space. The best Atlanta can really do is convert $10 million of Julio Jones' $11.2 million base salary into a signing bonus, which would free up $7.5 million in room.

Instead, the Falcons are going to have to create room the hard way. They can start by cutting Devonta Freeman, who has failed to live up to the expectations he set while excelling under Kyle Shanahan. The team would be responsible for $6 million in dead money for Freeman, but it would free up $3.5 million in space. Adding Ty Sambrailo to the discard pile would free up an additional $3.7 million in room.

Given that they still need to leave space to sign their draft picks, there's just not a clear path for the Falcons to add a couple of stars on the defensive side of the ball. They're more realistically looking at one star or a couple of depth pieces. And even that requires the Falcons to make a couple of tough choices ...

2. Let Austin Hooper follow Vic Beasley Jr. out the door. In a move I've never seen, the Falcons publicly announced before free agency even began that they weren't going to negotiate with Beasley. I was a bit surprised; they picked up Beasley's fifth-year option last year, and the former first-rounder racked up 6.5 sacks over the second half of the season. This is likely the right move, though, given Beasley's inconsistency.

As tough as it might be, Atlanta needs to pursue the same track with its starting tight end. Hooper set career highs in catches (75), receiving yards (787) and touchdowns (six) despite missing three games in 2019, but the Falcons already have too much committed on the offensive side of the ball. This is a team that already has four players making top-tier money at their respective positions in Ryan, Jones, Jake Matthews and Alex Mack (plus Freeman if he's not cut) and three recent first-round picks in Calvin Ridley, Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom. This team really needs to take the assets it has left and commit them to fixing the defense, and that means letting Hooper leave.

I suppose it's possible the Falcons could franchise Hooper and try to work out a trade for a draft pick or a defensive piece, though it might limit what they can do in the early days of free agency or prevent them from making a move altogether if he signs the tag. The dream would be to negotiate a trade for a pass-rusher; Yannick Ngakoue comes to mind because of how thin the Jags are at tight end, though Atlanta would probably need to throw in a meaningful pick to make that deal work.

3. Find a No. 1 pass-rusher. The Falcons have to be considered candidates for each of the top available edge rushers, though they're going to need to get creative to compete for Jadeveon Clowney. This could be a landing spot for Dante Fowler Jr. or short-term options like Robert Quinn or Jason Pierre-Paul.

Atlanta's late-season surge means it will be picking 16th in April's draft. The Falcons could move down and add extra picks, but it wouldn't be the worst idea if they ended up using their pick on an edge defender, too.

4. Add a nose tackle. The Falcons got by with former Saints backup Tyeler Davison in 2019 and could bring back Davison, but there's something to be said for adding an impact defender next to Grady Jarrett. The Falcons were much better against the run (14th in DVOA) than the pass (25th), but there's a chance for them to get even better against the run if they upgrade the nose and finally get a healthy season (or a healthier season) from safety Keanu Neal.

The big names in this category could be fun. I'd love to see Jarrett next to Ndamukong Suh, who is among the free agents on the market. Michael Pierce is a brutally effective run defender who could fit in Atlanta. Danny Shelton was great for the Patriots in 2019 and might come at a cheaper price. This is also a spot Atlanta might address in the draft.

5. Draft a running back. If the Falcons cut Freeman, they would be left with one of the league's least-imposing running back rooms. The good news is that there's virtually an endless supply of useful running backs. Atlanta could easily add someone like Lamar Miller or Carlos Hyde on a one-year deal without significantly impacting its ability to address the defense.

In the big picture, though, it makes sense for this team to look at drafting a running back in the middle rounds to take over. Atlanta has had success finding guys like Freeman and Tevin Coleman there in the past, and it can use the extra second-rounder it has from the Mohamed Sanu deal with the Patriots to trade down and grab extra selections.

 

 

Rework Neal’s 5th year option. He is not worth that amount after 2 major injuries. They should give him a new contract with 2-3 year option based on incentives around how many games played. His market value is about $2-3 million at this moment due to Two major injuries with 2 seasons. He hasn’t played for almost 2 seasons  with injuries happening in the beginning of each season. 
 

Get him a base contract around $3 million with incentives. He has no open leverage in the open market. This will also give them so cap relieve. 
 

Tru’s contract and Julio’s contract can be tweaked and lowering Cap space. Alex Mack will be modified because the cap hit is too high for a player of his age. They can extend him for 2 seasons lowering his cap hit. 
 

The Falcons have ways to create space and I’m not really worried about it— they just have to get creative.

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3 minutes ago, stingbee said:

Rework Neal’s 5th year option. He is not worth that amount after 2 major injuries. They should give him a new contract with 2-3 year option based on incentives around how many games played. His market value is about $2-3 million at this moment due to Two major injuries with 2 seasons. He hasn’t played for almost 2 seasons  with injuries happening in the beginning of each season. 
 

Get him a base contract around $3 million with incentives. He has no open leverage in the open market. This will also give them so cap relieve. 
 

Tru’s contract and Julio’s contract can be tweaked and lowering Cap space. Alex Mack will be modified because the cap hit is too high for a player of his age. They can extend him for 2 seasons lowering his cap hit. 
 

The Falcons have ways to create space and I’m not really worried about it— they just have to get creative.

Bro please don't quote the entire OP. 

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Neal should only be brought back as very cheap depth after we have a full time replacement. It is clear he cannot be depended on to be our starting SS. That is a critical position and the last two years have been a  mess on defense when we started the year expecting him to be the starter for us.

I'd draft a SS within the first 4 rds

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I can say logically speaking that Neal’s contract will be tweaked... can they also do a settlement for injuries even with the 5th year option in-play? I don’t know that answer...

Neal is not worth $6.5 million at this moment, and he has no leverage in the market. It sucks for him, but it is life. He can still make $2-3 million and let him show that he can play without any injuries.

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