While the Atlanta Falcons’ win/loss record may indicate otherwise Atlanta is a team that clearly took another big step in the right direction during 2022. They cleared Matt Ryan’s contract and found a trade for struggling linebacker Deion Jones. Next season will see Julio Jones finally leave Atlanta’s cap space and the Falcons are set for a huge off-season.
They made all of these moves while clearly hitting on the majority of their draft picks and managing to play a competitive season without a quarterback they could rely on. Arthur Smith is far from perfect but it is clear that he is elite when it comes to getting the most out of a bad roster. Last year’s Atlanta Falcons won seven games despite having very little talent and this year managed to play competitively nearly every week despite having a quarterback who cannot pass, a secondary that can’t slow down oppposing quarterbacks, and a pass rush that has long been the worst in the league.
Atlanta did all of this while dealing with a difficult schedule and calling plays for an offense that was unable to attack through the air consistently. While Atlanta didn’t take a step forward when it comes to winning games the front office and coaching staff continued to bring in young talent and set this team up for what clearly should be a very bright future.
Cutting Franks and Mariota will free up around $80-million in cap space along with great draft picks should be more than enough to give Atlanta the push they need to return to playoff contention.
The biggest question mark for Atlanta is whether or not they will attempt to build around Desmond Ridder? With star quarterbacks set to hit either free agency or the trade market the Falcons will certainly have options heading into what should be the most exciting off-season in recent memory.