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It Came From the Falcoholic, III


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Expect the Falcons to pour significant resources into free agency

Atlanta has too many holes to fix and a GM dedicated to digging up gems.

By Dave Choate  Feb 10, 2021, 12:00pm EST 
 

1187275113.jpg.0.jpgDavid John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Under Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons front office was good for at least one free agent splash per offseason unless money was very tight, in which case you could expect a lot of low grade signings for unexciting starters and depth. Sometimes those splashes worked out (Dontari Poe! Alex Mack!) and sometimes they didn’t (Ray Edwards! Dante Fowler Jr. so far! Tyson Jackson?), but if the Falcons had the cash you could bet on them swinging for big free agents at key positions of need.

The mixed track record in free agency occasionally pushed Atlanta to new heights (Mack is a great example of this, as is Michael Turner) but often those players fell short of expectations, which in turn became one of the things that doomed Dimitroff in Atlanta. For the first time in many years, we really don’t have even a rough outline of what the new front office might be looking at in free agency.

We can guess, though, and we can work off Terry Fontenot’s track record in New Orleans. That track record suggests that Fontenot will prioritize team fit and will mostly chase mid-tier free agents, at least at first with limited cap space to work with. If space is available and he’s identified a difference maker, however, the Falcons might open up Arthur Blank’s coinpurse. After all, Fontenot has already been part of a front office that was figured out there was always a way to free up cap space to get the guy you want, and this team lacks both difference makers and depth on both sides of the ball. The draft and some undrafted free agents, especially in a year where the Scouting Combine isn’t happening and meeting with and checking out prospects is more difficult, will make free agency an attractive avenue for Atlanta.

As Tori McElhaney noted in her most recent free agency preview for the Falcons, Fontenot is no stranger to nabbing relatively affordable free agents who fit like gloves for his team’s vision. The following quote comes from Jeff Duncan, a longtime Saints beat writer who is currently at The Athletic:

“Terry also has a keen eye for talent and understood how to find players who fit the vision of the Saints’ coaching staff and scheme. Demario Davis is by far his best free-agent signing. Few people had ever heard of him when the Saints brought him in, and he’s become a team captain, a leader and an All-Pro. But even more impressive has been Terry’s ability to beat the bushes and find mid- and veteran-minimum-level players to bolster the team’s depth and fill out the roster. Players like Malcom Brown, Latavius Murray, James Hurst, Nick Easton and Ty Montgomery have come in and played key roles and allowed the team to withstand attrition and injuries, which is so critical in today’s game.”

We can quibble a bit about how well-known Davis was—he was a very good player for the Jets even if he wasn’t well-known—but the broader point he’s making fits. Davis had a career-high single year earning when he was 27 and in Cleveland at just $4.2 million, but the Saints gave him a big multi-year deal with typical creative accounting that averages more than $6 million per year. In Davis, Fontenot and the New Orleans front office saw a player who could lift their typically shaky linebacker group and provide a locker room presence and were willing to pay for it. For guys like Brown, Murray, Hurst (a Falcons free agent target, by the way) and others, it was about the intersection of team fit and cost for a team that needed to nail those kinds of free agency signings to stay afloat with their other significant expenditures.

McElhaney’s blueprint for the offseason also includes one proven defensive difference maker—no Dante Fowler 2.0, even if he ultimately fares well in 2021—and coming out of the offseason without blowing up their fortunes in 2022 and 2023. All of that is sound and likely to be a very rough outline of what Atlanta gets up to in March and beyond, but you should fully expect a front office now led by a season pro personnel executive from one of the most cap-savvy teams in the league to make free agency a genuine priority.

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1 minute ago, celtiksage said:

We can get under the cap by cutting 3 players and restructuring 3, none of them named Julio or Ryan. Just wait for it.

We should know the new cap in the next 6 weeks.

Not only that but we could extend grady and or ryan. There's so many ways to manipulate it..... people get all worked up about the cap every year.

 

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Just now, FalconFanSince1969 said:

Not only that but we could extend grady and or ryan. There's so many ways to manipulate it..... people get all worked up about the cap every year.

 

Yeah Grady, Matthews and DJones are the extensions that can free up a lot of cap.

Then cut Carpenter, Allen and Bailey (?). I think it's Bailey. We can cut a few others too but their savings is smaller.

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10 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1969 said:

Not only that but we could extend grady and or ryan. There's so many ways to manipulate it..... people get all worked up about the cap every year.

 

Worked up? LOL. Ridiculous. Where would you possibly get that idea?

tenor.gif

 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, athell said:

WiTh WhAt MoNeY?!?!

 

19 minutes ago, Mister pudding said:

image.png.4d3dc17e60a285beb820e79432f76a71.png

 

16 minutes ago, Herr Doktor said:

So, tree fiddy total?  🤣🤣🤣

 

8 minutes ago, celtiksage said:

We can get under the cap by cutting 3 players and restructuring 3, none of them named Julio or Ryan. Just wait for it.

We should know the new cap in the next 6 weeks.

After making three cuts,,,,,  Allen, Bailey and Carpenter....  and some restructures.... the Falcons can free up some cap space, but... then the team needs to fill out 24 roster spots.    The veteran priority rule where vets count as much as rookies, will help.   Trading down in the draft will get us some more picks, we have nine now.

I see us doing a lot of vet-min one year deals.  Our big signings will -probably- be signing our RFA and ERFA guys like Gono and Graham.   With the cap being lowered so much, teams may not be all that eager to hand out big long term deals, which helps us.

Keep in mind, our draft class from 2018 enters FA next offseason.  They include Ridley, Oliver, Gage, Gono, Hurst, and Oluokun.   Fontenot might want to see about locking up some of -those- guys.  Or preserve at least -some- future cap space so we don't lose -all- of them....

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12 minutes ago, Knight of God said:

We've been talking for years about how cap talks are extremely overrated and overestimated. Maybe now we can do some things that will.legit make us better.

I’m really feeling Lawson as a front 7 pass rusher that shouldn’t break bank. Don’t know if we can afford Marcus Williams for FS. Who else is a FA from Saints? :lol: Not like they will keep all their guys from 2017 draft.

also, do you think we go with a 2 gapper NT in FA or draft? Or is Pees gonna adjust? I’m wondering if Tyeler Davison has it in him to 2 gap. Strong dude. if not he probably is a cut. He can eat 2 OL at times, but idk if the defense asked it every single down. Could free up Grady for permanent 1on1 opportunities.
 

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7 minutes ago, gazoo said:

The Falcoholic piece actually addresses vet minimum and under the radar vets that are good fits but can really help the team by patching up weaknesses. perhaps even weaknesses from players making a lot more money here that can be sent packing.

That would be the ultimate way to crush the cap squeeze. Hope TF can do it. He has the background and the drive.

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19 minutes ago, Knight of God said:

We've been talking for years about how cap talks are extremely overrated and overestimated. Maybe now we can do some things that will.legit make us better.

Exactly.

Every year some people freak out and every year we sign like 15 nfl free agents.

Some to get minimum deals...some to much larger deals.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Macintez said:

So the writer of this article came to this conclusion via "track record"?

Can't deny; This is a great way to generate traffic for their site. We'll see if it pays off because I don't expect them to make too many splashes unless there are some trades to generate Cap space.

There are several ways to generate cap space, the least of which being trades.

We do this every year.  Just sit back and relax and enjoy watching the front office clear space via extensions and restructures, cutting dead weight, and clearing enough to go after smart (splash signings are rarely smart) free agent signings to fill out the roster.

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42 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

I’m really feeling Lawson as a front 7 pass rusher that shouldn’t break bank. Don’t know if we can afford Marcus Williams for FS. Who else is a FA from Saints? :lol: Not like they will keep all their guys from 2017 draft.

also, do you think we go with a 2 gapper NT in FA or draft? Or is Pees gonna adjust? I’m wondering if Tyeler Davison has it in him to 2 gap. Strong dude. if not he probably is a cut. He can eat 2 OL at times, but idk if the defense asked it every single down. Could free up Grady for permanent 1on1 opportunities.
 

We can do quite a few things with what we have on contract. Pees can get something out of Tyler or Senat. That said, we are NOT a full on 3-4. We are a matchup defense. I wouldnt rule out DaQuan. I totally expect Williams, Peterson, or someone like that as well. May get an edge guy up there in age.

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