The Atlanta Falcons entered the free agent frenzy with very few holes to fill. A massive upgrade at DT should have Falcons fans feeling like winners leading up to Draft Day.
With just a little more than $2 million in cap space remaining, the Atlanta Falcons have all but set their sights on next month’s NFL draft. But before we do the same, let’s evaluate how well the Dirty Birds did during free agency.
Coming into this period, Atlanta had very few holes to fill via big free agent signings. Nor did they have many key contributors from last year’s Super Bowl team to re-sign.
Yes, the defending NFC champions will walk into the 2017 season with a new starting right guard and fullback. But regardless of how that makes you feel, the Falcons were not going to pay a premium at those positions.
Atlanta already has big money tied up in the other four offensive line spots. A fifth was not going to happen via free agency; hence the low-risk, potentially high-reward signing of Hugh Thornton.
Thornton won’t turn 26 until this summer, so if the former third-round pick turns it around in Atlanta, Dimitroff and company will look like geniuses.
As for the DiMarco departure, I do think it’s the biggest roster subtraction the Falcons will have to endure. But that says more about the current stability in Atlanta than it does about Pancake Pat’s contributions to the team.
Keep in mind, the fullback was only utilized on 25-30% of the team’s offensive snaps. The organization was not going to overspend on a player that sees less than a third of the field.
Instead, the Falcons opted for a camp competition between former Seahawk Derrick Coleman and former USC Trojan Soma Vainuku. Clearly the fingerprints of Dan Quinn and Steve Sarkisian were all over those signings.
With the Roberts signing, Atlanta killed two birds with one stone and now has more flexibility to work with in the upcoming draft.
In grading these signings, you have to ask yourself, “what do you get someone who has everything?” Atlanta’s offense was already the most potent in the league so the way to maintain that is with quality depth signings.
believe they’ve done so with the additions of Thornton, Coleman/Vainuku, and Roberts.
Moving on to the defensive side, the Falcons made the most impactful signing of their offseason by adding Dontari Poe.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t think an acquisition of Poe’s magnitude was in the cards for Atlanta.
Instead, the Falcons fortuitously landed the athletic specimen that is Dontari Poe and didn’t break the bank doing so—the very definition of a win-win scenario.
With Poe now in the fold, the Falcons possess a formidable interior duo entering the prime of their careers. Couple that with the addition of Jack Crawford, a hybrid defensive lineman, and the Falcons have laid the groundwork for a versatile DL rotation.
And we all know how much Quinn covets versatility in his players.
This free agent crop of players puts the Falcons in an extremely favorable position come April 27. Atlanta is no longer pigeonholed into selecting any particular player or position when they’re on the clock.
The result: a Falcons roster that only gets better from here.