Atlanta Falcons: Free agency grades from around the internet
The perception amongst Atlanta Falcons fans about the team's moves in free agency has been overwhelmingly positive. Fans are finding out what it is like to have a lot of money and it has created a lot of excitement for the upcoming season, as well as the future.
But as we all know, just because the fans like the moves doesn't mean the media will. In fact, many of them have been pretty critical. With that being said, the Falcons could go 17-0 and win the Super Bowl by a score of 70 to 0 and the media would still find something to criticize.
Looking at overall grades for the Atlanta Falcons during first wave of free agency
Again, outside sources tend to be overly critical of the Atlanta Falcons (looking at you CBS Sports). It feels like they will always be pessimistic no matter what the Falcons do. However, many of them don't know the Falcons team to the level that we do. They have to cover 32 different teams, so it is understandable—to a point.
Related: Grading each of the Atlanta Falcons moves early in free agency.
Let's take a look at overall grades from different outside sources for the Atlanta Falcons free agency moves.
CBS Sports: C
"The Falcons made a number of big swings Monday to jumpstart free agency, but almost all of them were clear overpays. The decision to make former Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III, Cincy's leader in interceptions (14) and tackles (479) since entering the NFL in 2018, the fourth-highest paid safety in the NFL on an annual basis with a four-year, $64.02 million contract is their most defendable move. Atlanta was the league's sixth-worst total defense, 362.1 total yards per game allowed, in 2022, and they weren't getting much out of their secondary, the eighth-worst pass defense in the NFL (231.9 passing yards allowed per game). "- Garrett Podell, CBS Sports
I am honestly not even going to waste my time on this one; onto Pro Football Focus.
Pro Football Focus: B
PFF was relatively complimentary about the moves the Falcons made early in free agency. They commented on how Jessie Bates was exactly what a Ryan Nielsen defense needs, how David Onyemata has quietly been really good as an interior pass rusher, and how "truly fascinating" the Kaden Elliss deal is. They also had no issues with the Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom deals.
The moves they were critical of were the Jonnu Smith trade, the amount of money they paid Kaden Elliss, and the signing of Taylor Heinicke. While the grade they assigned the Falcons was pretty favorable, they still claim that they lost nearly a full point in PFF WAR. I am not sure how that is the case, considering they have only lost a few players, but they have their reasons for it.
Pro Football Network: B+
We are climbing the ranks; Pro Football Network is very optimistic about what the Atlanta Falcons have done thus far. Here is what they had to say:
"The Falcons had the second-most cap space in football this cycle and were determined to use it. Their defense should be much improved after adding several starters that fit the scheme of new coordinator Ryan Nielsen. Did they overpay? Perhaps at times. But it’s the nature of free agency."- Adam H. Beasley, Pro Football Network
This is a very logical and solid analysis. He is one of the few that recognizes how improved the Falcons defense is with them adding instant starters. Then he hits the nail on the head, everyone overpays in free agency.
Now we will move on to individual grades for each of the moves Atlanta has made.