Since1990

5 Free Agent Targets

67 posts in this topic

https://fansided.com/2020/02/21/atlanta-falcons-free-agent-rumors-offseason-needs-2020/

As of this writing, the Atlanta Falcons have a total of $5.4 million in cap space. That is before free agency, the NFL Draft, and any possible trades they make this offseason. It’s a terrible spot to be in. Around $3 million of that is going to their first-round pick, whoever they take at 16th-overall in April.

However, they have some options. They will likely cut Keanu Neal, who’s coming off consecutive season-ending injuries. This time it was a torn Achilles, which maybe indicates he’s not coming back the same. They could save another $3.5 million by cutting defensive end Allen Bailey. Luke Stocker, Matt Schaub and Damontae Kazee would save them another $6.7 million.

If the Falcons make all those moves, They magically come up with $23 million in cap space. That’s enough to at least make some moves to free agency, but major moves are still out of the question. That’s what happens when you’re paying the quarterback, a star wide receiver and a monster left tackle. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Jake Matthews are taking up $60 million of the Falcons’ cap space.

We see the Falcons doing everything they can to put last season behind them. It was such a collapse that set them back, and now they’re going to give this one more shot with head coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff. These free agents are worth watching.

5. Austin Hooper

The Falcons found a gem in tight end Austin Hooper, but he finally came into his own right before becoming a free agent. The 2016 third-round pick has gotten better every year, and was a legit star at his position in 2019.

He had 75 receptions in only 13 games, which puts him at a 92-catch pace in a full season. Even with missed time, he was fifth in the league in receptions and tied for fourth in touchdowns among tight ends with six. This is a weapon the Falcons need to hold on to.

Hooper is going to get quite the raise this offseason, but how much is too much for the Falcons? The most expensive tight end in the league is somehow still Jimmy Graham with the Green Bay Packers, but we don’t expect that to be the case in 2020. Travis Kelce is next on the list, and he makes just over $9 million on average per season.

Even if the Falcons decide to hit Hooper with the franchise tag, it would cost the team around $11 million. That would take close to about half the cap space we slotted for them after cuts, not including the money they have to spend on rookies.

Still, this is a 25-year-old who is quickly becoming one of the best at his position. The Falcons have a couple of those types of players, and they don’t want to lose one for nothing. They need to figure out how to keep Hooper in Georgia for next season and beyond.

4. Jason Pierre-Paul

Jason Pierre-Paul is the man who won’t let his career go by the wayside, and is still contributing at a decently high level. A major car accident last year looked like it could end his season with a neck injury, but he ended up returning at the end of October. Not only that, but he had himself a very nice season, scoring 8.5 sacks in nine games. That includes two sacks against these very same Falcons in Week 17.

Pierre-Paul might be one of the better options on the market in terms of pass rush without breaking the bank. He restructured his contract before the 2019 season in exchange for ending it after this season. He might be looking to cash in, and if that’s the case then the Falcons are not a good option.

Pass rush is probably the Falcons’ top need this offseason. Atlanta had the fourth-fewest sacks in the league, and defensive minded Dan Quinn needs to show he can fix that front seven with some quickness. Pierre-Paul would be a good add for the right price. If he’s still looking to be a $10 million player, or one that’s getting another multi-year deal, then he should look elsewhere. If he’s willing to be like his former teammate Ndamukong Suh and become a one-year mercenary, this could be the perfect fit.

3. Karl Joseph

The Falcons also need help at safety, and this might be the perfect market for them. There are a myriad of intriguing, high-risk high-reward options on the market. Many of these options are former first-round picks, including former Oakland Raiders safety Karl Joseph.

Joseph never really lived up to the hype that made him the 14th-overall pick out of West Virginia. He’s actually considered one of the best low-cost options on the market. Pro Football Focus named him the best value safety in free agency. They cite that despite not exactly fitting in to the Raiders defense as a whole, he’s quietly been a decent starter every year.

The Falcons biggest needs on defense may end with safety, but if we think they’ll spend some on the pass rush and draft a cornerback, we think they could go for a deal at the safety position.

We’re also calling for the Falcons to cut Damontae Kazee, so that opens up a spot for the team to add a safety. We could see Joseph signing a long-term deal to lock in $10 million over three years, or signing for one year and around $2-3 million to bet on himself. Either way, the Falcons could look to add youth to a unit that desperately needs it after it was ravished by injuries last season.

2. Ronald Darby

Ronald Darby is a cornerback who was once a terrific player, but who struggled for the Philadelphia Eagles last season. He dealt with injuries and was coming off a torn ACL that ended his 2018 season. It looked like he was a different player than his earlier version.

Injuries are kind of the story of Darby’s career since being taken in the second round out of Florida State five years ago. He’s never played a full 16-game season with Philadelphia, and actually hasn’t played more than 11 in the past three years. These aren’t fluke injuries. This can be the thing that derails his career.

Yet, he’s still very much worth the risk for the Falcons. They need serious help a cornerback, and they don’t have a lot of money to make it work. They could very well use their first-round pick to draft a cornerback, but they won’t be ready to dominate from the jump. Darby could fill that gap while trying to recapture his value.

Darby is not going to cost much at all. His injury concerns are going to scare some teams away, and his bad season last year will scare a lot of others. However, he was on his way to being a really good player when injuries took him out. He’s 26 years old, so there’s a little time to make up for the lost seasons. No better opportunity than to do it in Atlanta.

1. Bruce Irvin

Bruce Irvin is a player that you may not remember was in the league in 2019, and that’s not a good sign, but he could be a cheap option to replace a pair of outside linebackers the Falcons could lose in free agency. Vic Beasley and De’Vondre Campbell are likely leaving in free agency. That’s going to leave a massive hole at outside linebacker, with a lack of internal options to replace them.

With a limited budget, the Falcons only have so many options to bring in outside linebackers. Bruce Irvin quietly had a really good season in Carolina. The defense was a mess with a switch in coaching staff and an offense that couldn’t stay on the field. Still, Irvin was able to collect 8.5 sacks and 36 tackles. It’s hard to keep producing on a team that loses the last eight games of the season.

Irvin missed the first three games of the season, when the Panthers still had hope. He might have even better stats if he was on the team then.

Irvin would be a great addition to the Falcons pass rush that’s in desperate need of fixing. They again were fourth-worst in sacks last season, and if they don’t make major cuts there is going to be no money to make any additions. They have to restructure this roster. Veterans on cheap contracts like Bruce Irvin could actually help them be competitive once again.

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5 minutes ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

I’m not sure how people can forget Irvin was in the league last last year.  Since coming to ATL the dude has been amongst the most productive DE’s in football.

Irvin Last 17 Games:

• 12 Sacks

• 12 TFL

• 22 QB Hits

That's pretty much why we let him walk, the Falcons are where DE's go to die or in his case if he does ok we let him walk

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I don't want Darby anywhere near the Falcons secondary. Darby only looked decent in the Eagles secondary because the other corners absolutely sucked. Don't want to touch him period. Been keeping an eye on him since he played in Buffalo. He's fast as **** but that's his best attribute. May as well keep Trufant if he's a consideration. 

With Neal and Rico dam near 100% likely to enter the season as the starter, it's risky to pay another starter in FA unless Morris wants to run 3 safety sets (barring any injury to anyone). Joseph has had his fair share of injuries as well so it's worth noting

federicofalcon2 and Ovie_Lover like this

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4 minutes ago, quotemokc said:

Didn't someone post a few days ago that Neal's contract is already guaranteed therefore we wouldn't gain any cap space by cutting him?

That's what I was thinking, actually.

The Daywalker likes this

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30 minutes ago, quotemokc said:

Didn't someone post a few days ago that Neal's contract is already guaranteed therefore we wouldn't gain any cap space by cutting him?

We can still cut him and gain 6 million cap savings

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I have no problems with Irvin and think he still has gas in the tank but unless we run a 3-4 system similar to what they did in 2019, I am not sure he will be as effective here.

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59 minutes ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

You don’t think he will be healthy enough to cut in a month?

Rico didnt come back healthy until like July. That injury takes a long *** time to heal. So no.

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1 hour ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

You don’t think he will be healthy enough to cut in a month?

When's the last time they even offered an update? I remember them saying he was "recovering well" last year but haven't heard any official news since. At the same time I'm too lazy to see what the injury was(I forgot) so I don't know what the window is for a full recovery. Just taking into consideration that we've heard absolutely nothing, I think it's a safe assumption to make that he won't be reported as 100% at the deadline unless they just come out of no where with an update

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There going to get one of these DEs as the draft class is weak as **** at that position.JPP is an intriguing one for me he plays DE/DT nickel rusher well.I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Falcons uniform.

Joseph to me is another Neal waiting to happen.Thats side tracked his career since he’s been in the league I’ll say no to him and keep Kazee.

The real decision at the back is do you keep rolling with Neal and Allen or do you draft there replacements now.

I’m at the point I draft the replacements now and stack em.Then roll with the Kazee and cough Winfield Jnr and cut thee other 2 this year or next.

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3 hours ago, quotemokc said:

Didn't someone post a few days ago that Neal's contract is already guaranteed therefore we wouldn't gain any cap space by cutting him?

Yep..fansided needs to go read my thread lol.

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5 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1969 said:

No chance. That injury is easily a full year recovery 

They say 7-9 months.  March is the 7th month. I wonder if they’d even expose him to the physical

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9 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1969 said:

We're not the Bengals. I don't think we would try to screw Neal out of his likely only big pay day.

And for 6 million Neal could still have high payoff. 

Schwarzwald likes this

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1 minute ago, Atlantafan21 said:

Why would we cut Kazee? That’d be a ridiculously stupid move just to get Joseph. Kazee is still on his rookie contract and is one of the few playmakers on our defense. He has rough spots, but he’s still okay. 

I agree but just want to point out that according to spoctrac, cutting him would save little over $2 million. 

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