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Goober Pyle

Falcons post-combine: Approach at edge rusher, in-house free-agent predictions

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https://theathletic.com/1657339/2020/03/05/falcons-post-combine-approach-at-edge-rusher-in-house-free-agent-predictions/?source=dailyemail

 

Thomas Dimitroff doesn’t believe the Falcons are in “salary-cap ****.” He also knows they’re far from “salary-cap paradise,” too.

With the current contracts on the books, Atlanta is projected to have more than $4 million in cap space. That’s obviously a low number that will involve some nifty maneuvering if the franchise is to bring in some key components to the 2020 roster. There will be some cap casualties to go with a restructured contract or two. As Dimitroff has alluded to in the past, working around Matt Ryan’s $150 million contract hasn’t been easy, since so much of the team’s overall cap figure is tied up in it.

A good example of this came last year when the Falcons were unable to be major players when free agency opened.

The Falcons have a bevy of needs to address, although much speculation has centered on whether they can afford a top free agent, specifically at edge rusher. As Dimitroff likes to say, the Falcons will need to be “creative” if they are to attract anyone who can help propel them back to the postseason. From the outside, edge rusher would seem to be Atlanta’s greatest need. The Falcons decided not to bring back Vic Beasley, and Takk McKinley will enter the fourth year of his rookie deal, with early signs pointing toward his fifth-year option not being picked up. Adding a pass rusher seems essential to the short- and long-term health of the franchise.

The present cap situation would suggest that someone like Jadeveon Clowney, who could make an average of more than $20 million per season, is unattainable. Shaquil Barrett, who led the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2019, also probably falls in that category. Signing someone like Dante Fowler Jr., who could command a salary of more than $15 million per year, also could be tough but perhaps is more doable with the right cuts.

Another idea could be to trade for Jacksonville Jaguars edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, who will have the franchise tag placed on him. One benefit of this is the Falcons then would be able to keep the 2021 compensatory pick for Austin Hooper’s departure. Of course, this would require a long-term deal for Ngakoue, which figures to get quite expensive. In addition, trading for Ngakoue, who has posted 37.5 sacks in his first four seasons, would probably require at least a 2020 first-round pick.

The safest bet likely lies in finding a veteran edge rusher who can help a rookie draft pick develop. With this in mind, Mario Addison, who has 55 career sacks since 2011, seemingly would fit while coming at a much more affordable price than the aforementioned names.

If the Falcons are to add one of these edge rushers in free agency, they’ll have to move quickly. There aren’t many on the market this year.

“That’s an expensive position,” Dimitroff said. “I think a lot of people are looking at that, trying to compare the worth and the value there. There are some very good football players there.”

Falcons’ in-house free-agent predictions

Several players from Atlanta’s 2019 roster are expected to hit free agency if new contracts aren’t reached by the new league year’s beginning on March 18. Here are some predictions on whether these players will be back, or if it’s too early to tell.

DT Tyeler Davison: Davison put forth a productive season that saw him post a career-best 55 tackles. Davison was stout against the run and impressed the coaching staff with his play. I expect Davison to re-sign.

DE Steven Means: A tough edge-setter with some pass-rushing ability, Means tore his Achilles last offseason. The coaches love his game as well as his speed, and missed him a great deal in 2019. I think Means will be back in the fold for 2020 and could even sign a contract before the new league year begins.

DE Adrian Clayborn: Clayborn offers an edge-setting presence on the field to go with leadership in the locker room, so a return makes sense. But it’s unknown where the Falcons stand, at least from the outside looking in.

RB Kenjon Barner: Barner had a good season as a return specialist and would seemingly have a chance to be back in 2020. That stated, since he’s primarily a special-teamer, Barner probably will be forced to wait until late March or early April to find a landing spot. I’d imagine the Falcons would be willing to bring him back at the right price, although I’d put the odds at 50-50 right now.

CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson: Wreh-Wilson held up well when called upon in 2019 and should at least have the Falcons interested in bringing him back on a short-term contract. Wreh-Wilson appeared in 14 games with two starts last season, totaling 25 tackles and seven pass breakups.

FB Keith Smith: The Falcons planned to keep Ricky Ortiz if not for a preseason ankle injury. After reaching an injury settlement with Ortiz, they brought on Smith, which shows that the franchise still envisions a role for the fullback position. Smith played well last season and figures to have a shot at returning to the roster.

S Sharrod Neasman: With Neasman being a valuable player on special teams, he, like Barner, could be waiting to sign in the second wave of free agency. In addition, Neasman brings value as a backup free safety. It’s unknown where Atlanta views him at the moment.

DT Jack Crawford: Having so many needs to fill, the Falcons could take their time with Crawford once free agency begins. If that’s the case, I would have to think Crawford will be with another team in 2020.

P Matt Bosher: With the Falcons signing Sam Irwin-Hill and Ryan Allen, the writing appears to be on the wall with Bosher, who was drafted by the team in 2011.

LB/S Kemal Ishmael: As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported this week, Ishmael is not expected to return to the Falcons.

 

 

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I imagine when the CBA is signed < fingers crossed > we will see some activity with our cap to free up space. We aren't in a great place but there are moves that can be made to give us relief.

I really would like to see Means play a full season, and I think Wreh-Wilson is an important cog in our DB rotation so I'd like to see both get deals.

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1 minute ago, Geneaut said:

I imagine when the CBA is signed < fingers crossed > we will see some activity with our cap to free up space. We aren't in a great place but there are moves that can be made to give us relief.

I really would like to see Means play a full season, and I think Wreh-Wilson is an important cog in our DB rotation so I'd like to see both get deals.

I like Means but that Achilles tear is a bad mutha... 

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10 minutes ago, GATXBOI said:

I like Means but that Achilles tear is a bad mutha... 

Yeah but he only made like $800,000 last year ao I can't imagine he'd need much more to sign again. For a bargain-basement price I'm willing to take a chance on a veteran DE at a position of need.

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Two I would like to look at for the low is Senat and Hageman. There will be others on the last cuts from other teams. It is doable if we get creative and lucky. But TD is going to have to let go some of his traits like going heavy after Midwest players and only drafting players from a few SEC schools 

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50 minutes ago, Gold4425 said:

Two I would like to look at for the low is Senat and Hageman. There will be others on the last cuts from other teams. It is doable if we get creative and lucky. But TD is going to have to let go some of his traits like going heavy after Midwest players and only drafting players from a few SEC schools 

Hageman seemed motivated but he got hurt in the preseason and never really got back healthy. 

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1 hour ago, Gold4425 said:

Two I would like to look at for the low is Senat and Hageman. There will be others on the last cuts from other teams. It is doable if we get creative and lucky. But TD is going to have to let go some of his traits like going heavy after Midwest players and only drafting players from a few SEC schools 

Senat should still be under his rookie contract.

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I’d love to sign Ronald Blair III.  He was having a great year in SF last year before going to IR.  Would likely not cost much.  Here is what 49ers DC thinks about Blair:

 

“He’s just a model of consistency, man,” defensive coordinator Robert Saleh told reporters earlier this week (h/t 49ers Webzone). “I love Ronnie. I’ve gushed about him up here, and I can do it for another 15 minutes if you all like. You guys know how I feel about him.

 

“He looked fantastic, and he’s looked like that, to me, his entire career. It just goes unnoticed when he’s not the big name; he’s not the big draft pick.”

And that’s precisely why he’s so underrated. But that doesn’t mean he’s undervalued.

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2 hours ago, Gold4425 said:

Two I would like to look at for the low is Senat and Hageman. There will be others on the last cuts from other teams. It is doable if we get creative and lucky. But TD is going to have to let go some of his traits like going heavy after Midwest players and only drafting players from a few SEC schools 

Senat is still on his rookie deal

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9 hours ago, Geneaut said:

I imagine when the CBA is signed < fingers crossed > we will see some activity with our cap to free up space. We aren't in a great place but there are moves that can be made to give us relief.

I really would like to see Means play a full season, and I think Wreh-Wilson is an important cog in our DB rotation so I'd like to see both get deals.

After it’s signed the NFL is gonna be busier than a one eyed cat watching nine mouse holes...

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48 minutes ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

I’d love to sign Ronald Blair III.  He was having a great year in SF last year before going to IR.  Would likely not cost much.  Here is what 49ers DC thinks about Blair:

 

“He’s just a model of consistency, man,” defensive coordinator Robert Saleh told reporters earlier this week (h/t 49ers Webzone). “I love Ronnie. I’ve gushed about him up here, and I can do it for another 15 minutes if you all like. You guys know how I feel about him.

 

“He looked fantastic, and he’s looked like that, to me, his entire career. It just goes unnoticed when he’s not the big name; he’s not the big draft pick.”

And that’s precisely why he’s so underrated. But that doesn’t mean he’s undervalued.

 Pretty light for DT @ 269

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15 hours ago, Geneaut said:

Yeah but he only made like $800,000 last year ao I can't imagine he'd need much more to sign again. For a bargain-basement price I'm willing to take a chance on a veteran DE at a position of need.

Yep. He was why we cut Brooks Reed. Saved money and had earned the job.

Plus, his Achilles will be past the one year mark in May; as it was hurt during OTAs last year, so he will get a full training camp to show he can be healthy and start building his way back onto 53man. At minimum, he is a camp body if they believe he can rebound.

AC should be back and TD if he isn’t gonna try to break bank after a solid year here. I don’t think a true 3-4 team would want to play him at nose but he was good for us at his price last year. I’d give him no more than $2M per across a couple seasons. AC and Means as DE bodies.

^That’s some in house veterans before we shape up for outside...but even there I’m hoping we make a guy like Quinn for a few years work than paying too much for Fowler and could develop in meantime. I wouldn’t complain about Fowler tho, just I’m iffy now after reading PFF’s DE FA grades and how he wasn’t always the first guy there and was playing more OLB for Rams.

I’d rather go for Quinn if it’s cheaper...3 years and $36M...lower year 1 cap if the CBA is down o make 2020 work. Quinn’s run D isn’t good but that’s why you resign Means. And, you get him lower per year than a deal for Fowler in that hypothetical.

Hope Cominsky progresses and Takk stays healthy otherwise in house.

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This stuff doesn't give me any hope. We are gonna have to have a d@mn good draft. Coaching has to drastically improve. Our highest paid players have to All-Pros, and we can't waste anymore money on guys that are no better than the ones we cut.

If we are not successful, it's time to bring out the pink slips and machete.

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On 3/6/2020 at 7:28 PM, Charles Wright said:

 Pretty light for DT @ 269

He would play Bailey’s role at DE who can play edge or slide inside

Watch him toss the Carolina Guard about 10 feet before sacking the QB

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap3000001070522/Ronald-Blair-chops-down-Kyle-Allen-to-end-Panthers-drive-with-fourth-down-sack

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6 hours ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

He would play Bailey’s role at DE who can play edge or slide inside

Watch him toss the Carolina Guard about 10 feet before sacking the QB

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap3000001070522/Ronald-Blair-chops-down-Kyle-Allen-to-end-Panthers-drive-with-fourth-down-sack

 Saw that! Be interesting for look see money.

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