Falcons: Does Ryan Nielsen's departure slam the door on Calais Campbell returning?

Calais Campbell was one of the Atlanta Falcons best players in 2023 and it appears like he will either retire or go elsewhere, especially following Ryan Nielsen's departure.

Atlanta Falcons v Chicago Bears
Atlanta Falcons v Chicago Bears / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

There isn't one person in Atlanta who wouldn't love to see Calais Campbell return for another season with the Falcons. His contributions both on and off the field were unmeasurable.

While it would be excellent to see Campbell return, I wouldn't count on it. If he doesn't end up retiring, he would likely elect to sign elsewhere following Ryan Nielsen's departure from the team.

Calais Campbell unlikely to return to the Atlanta Falcons

Calais Campbell had a huge part in the defensive turnaround for the Atlanta Falcons, along with defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen.

Unfortunately, that strong defense wasn't enough to overcome Arthur Smith's bad offense.

Now, the Falcons will try to continue their defensive momentum while also trying to improve their offense enough to earn them a playoff berth in 2024. It is something that will have to be done without Ryan Nielsen, and Calais Campbell, in all likelihood.

Campbell just finished his 16th season in the NFL and by the time the 2024 regular season starts, Campbell will be 38 years old. He has already stated that he doesn't know whether or not he will play another season.

If he does return for his 17th season, don't expect it to be with the Falcons. He is due to be a free agent and there is no reason for him to latch on with the Dirty Birds again, especially with Nielsen departing for Jacksonville.

With an entirely new coaching staff, Campbell might as well go somewhere else. Don't be surprised if he were to follow Nielsen for a second stint with the Jaguars.


With all of this being said, I don't think any of us thought he would choose the Falcons last year, so anything can happen. An announcement of him re-signing with the Falcons would be less shocking than when he signed with them in the first place.

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