Expect A Quiet 2018 Offseason, Falcons Fans
The Atlanta Falcons will mostly likely not make any big splashes in the offseason.
It’s fun to think that the Atlanta Falcons might make a run on more high-profile free agents, or make a big trade for a current NFL player or to move up in the first round of the Draft.
I have a hard time seeing any of that happening, though, for multiple reasons.
For one thing, the Falcons really don’t have that many needs.
This is still by and large the same team that went to Super Bowl LI. They’re loaded on offense and ascending on defense.
Free agency could create some holes at defensive tackle and wide receiver, and they could certainly stand to upgrade at guard, but this is not a team riddled with holes.
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As such, they don’t need to make many moves, or at least not big, splashy ones.
Secondly, Atlanta doesn’t have a lot of money to spend in free agency.
Depending upon what source I’ve looked at, I’ve seen them at anywhere between around $13 million and $19 million under the cap.
They have decisions to make about trying to bring back their own pending free agents – Dontari Poe, Adrian Clayborn, Taylor Gabriel, and Matt Bryant among them.
They also have determined that they want to re-sign Matt Ryan to a contract extension, and it remains to be seen if that can be structured in such a way as to free up more cap space.
It may, in fact, take up more space.
So, I wouldn’t expect to see Jimmy Graham or Andrew Norwell or Sheldon Richardson in a Falcons uniform next year.
I’d expect, instead, to see Atlanta look for second- or third-tier free agents who they feel fit their schemes.
I’d look for names like Josh Kline, Jay Bromley, and Tyler Eifert, and I’d expect them to be signed to deals that were as cap-friendly as possible.
By the same token, don’t expect any big-name trade acquisitions or waiver wire pickups.
It’s fun to think about Aqib Talib, Muhammad Wilkerson, or Ndamakong Suh suiting up for Atlanta, but the reality is they’d just cost too much in terms or cap space and – in the case of a trade – draft picks and/or players.
Additionally, in the specific examples of the individuals just listed, those are personalities that I don’t believe would be good fits for the locker room.
I have a hard time seeing those players buying in to the “Brotherhood” mentality.
Then there’s the Draft.
The Falcons hold the twenty-sixth pick in the first round. By that point, the elite talent will be off the board.
There will be no Minkah Fitzpatrick, Bradley Chubb, or Quenten Nelson available.
Even the next level of players, guys like Vita Vea, Da’Ron Payne, and Derwin James, will likely be gone.
I think Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn will still be able to get a player who can step in and start with the twenty-sixth pick, but he won’t be a “can’t-miss”type of prospect.
The likelihood of a Jones-esque trade up to get a super-blue-chip guy is slim, I think.
The Falcons are already short one pick in this draft – the fifth-rounder to Denver for Ty Sambraillo – and don’t look to be in line to get any significant compensatory picks, so there’s not a lot of ammo in the can to make such a trade.
I don’t think trading future picks is in the cards, as I have a hunch Quinn and Dimitroff aren’t sold on any prospects in this draft like Dimitroff and Mike Smith were with Jones.
Next: Prepping for the Falcons at the 2018 Combine
Then again, I didn’t really see the Jones trade coming until the last minute, so what do I know?