3 key defensive free agents the Falcons could pursue during free agency

Here are 3 key free agents the Atlanta Falcons should pursue who would bring immediate value to their roster.

Danielle Hunter would be a huge addition for the Falcons.
Danielle Hunter would be a huge addition for the Falcons. / David Berding/GettyImages
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1. Brian Burns could become the main attraction for the Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are in dire need of a premier pass rushers and the one they may target in free agency may just come from a division rival.

Brian Burns should be available after the Carolina Panthers failed to negotiate a long-term contract with him and it's highly unlikely the Panthers will use the franchise tag on him. Burns could end up being one of the most sought-after players and he has also let it be known that he won't come cheap.

Burns is seeking to earn an annual salary of at least $30 million and that number may decrease the number of teams who may be interested in acquiring his services. He accumulated a total of 8 sacks last season and he totaled 12.5 sacks the season before.

If the Falcons can convince Burns to sign long term and if the Falcons can secure another good pass rusher to pair on the opposite side, it'll give Burns the potential to do more damage because there will be fewer double teams for him to face with a viable threat on the other side. The Falcons could bring back free agent outside linebacker Bud Dupree after he tied for the team lead in sacks with 6.5. That would give the Falcons 2 veteran pass rushers who will hopefully increase the team's sack totals and keep opposing quarterbacks under duress.

Burns is one of the few elite edge rushers who uses his length and power along with a variety of different moves to disrupt quarterbacks. He has become a household name over the past few seasons and a player opposing offensive linemen who never look forward to blocking. Burns even produces when he faces multiple double teams and helps his teammates get better matchups while taking on those double teams.

He possesses a quick first step and gets off the line rather quickly. Burns is so good at getting off his release at the line of scrimmage that he often forces linemen to change their angle which gives him more space and time to build momentum which puts linemen at a disadvantage. According to Pro Football Focus, Burns has recorded 30.5 sacks over the last 3 seasons which is good for 7th most in the NFL and his 124 total pressures were good for 4th in the league over that span.