The Atlanta Falcons have 20 unrestricted free agents from the 2020 roster.
With the Atlanta Falcons currently projected to be roughly $30 million over the projected salary cap, the potential for free-agent signings is low. The main reason? Players usually want either long-term security or they want to “break the bank”, and the Falcons can’t truly offer either category.
Given the current landscape of the league, it would therefore make sense to look internally at free agents. By attempting to keep the status quo, new general manager Terry Fontenot can attempt to promote continuity while also looking towards the future.
While he will need to make some tough decisions to move us into a position to make offers, he and new head coach Arthur Smith have been given the green light by Arthur Blank with no meddling from him.
What’s important to note about free agency, however, is that there are three categories:
- Unrestricted free agents (fair game to any team)
- Restricted free agents (player who receives a qualifying offer with a tender if they choose to sign elsewhere)
- Exclusive-rights free agents (players with less than two years on a team, given a one-year deal where they either sign or sit out the year)
Looking at the current Falcons team, here’s where they currently stand in the aforementioned categories:
- Unrestricted: 17 players (16 with the retirement of QB Matt Schaub)
- Restricted: two players (OT Matt Gono and WR Brandon Powell)
- Exclusive-rights: five players (PK Younghoe Koo, DT Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, TE Jaeden Graham, WR Christian Blake, CB Tyler Hall)
With that in mind, given the amount of players set to hit the market, here are the top three interior free agents that, assuming the front office can, the Atlanta Falcons should consider re-signing: