We continue our “Falcons 50” countdown with a look at the Atlanta Falcons’ top offseason moves of 2016. Falcons football is just 26 days away. You can follow along with the full countdown here.
Falcons top offseason moves: #1 Signing Alex Mack
Finding a solution at center wasn’t an option for the Falcons, rather a necessity. Aggressively seeking an upgrade, Atlanta went after the hottest name on the market: Alex Mack.
Handing a 30-year-old center on the tail end of his career a five-year, $45 million contract with $28.5 million guaranteed was a bold move, and there’s no denying Mack was overpaid by the Falcons. But something had to give, and general manager Thomas Dimitroff felt the investment was worth it.
Mack’s leaving the prime years of his career, and his play was below his high standards last season. But that doesn’t mean it was a bad move. Mack offers stability at a previously turbulent position.
Atlanta’s tackles are in place with Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder, and the two guards of Andy Levitre and Chris Chester are good enough to produce this year. Atlanta’s starting quintet must rank among the league’s upper echelon following Mack’s arrival.
From botched to snaps to poor protection, the center position was a disaster last year. Atlanta offered little resistance to blitzers through the middle, the quickest way to the passer. Mack’s arrival helps change that.
Selected by the Browns in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Mack has three Pro Bowl nods (2010, 2013, 2015) despite playing on bad teams, as well as a second-team All-Pro honor in 2013.
Adding Mack to the line was the Atlanta Falcons’ best piece of offseason business.