Most Falcons fans agree that the team has several roster holes to fill, and given that the draft is still a couple of months away, the most immediate way those holes can be patched is via free agency. This year, it's clear that the Falcons need to make several moves to improve the pass rush - but what are the options, really? Even though Justin Houston is technically listed as a free-agent, most everyone agrees that he will not likely make it out of Kansas City. With that in mind, here's a quick look at some potential free agent pass rushers, and their current status.
If you had your hopes up for JPP, it looks like the Giants will use the non-exclusive tag on the defensive end to keep him in New York. While this doesn't prevent teams from signing Pierre-Paul, it becomes highly unlikely as the signing team would have to give up 2 first round picks to the Giants in order to sign him. I think it's safe to say he's off the market.
Any concern about Orakpo getting tagged should be put to rest. Indications are that the Redskins are ready to move on from Orakpo after averaging only 8 games per season the last three years. He could be a potential target if the price is right.
One of the better pass rushing free agents this year, it's looking like the Ravens are willing to part with McPhee, knowing he is going to get a big contract elsewhere. While he could be a target for the Falcons, his price tag is going to be one of the highest of any of the pass rushers to hit free agency.
Indications are that the Cleveland Browns will let Sheard hit free agency after putting up disappointing numbers as a 3-4 OLB. Sheard's early success came as a traditional 4-3 DE, though he still ranked highly with PFF this past season as a run-stopper. Sheard could be a good value signing.
With Dick LeBeau coming into Tennessee to run more 3-4 looks, it looks like Morgan will be allowed to test free agency. Morgan played 4-3 DE in college and initially coming into the pros. Like Sheard, he looked better with his hand in the dirt. At only 26, Morgan could be another potential value signing for the Falcons.
It sounds like the Steelers are willing to let Worilds test free agency due to not wanting to use the transition tag again on the 27-year old pass rusher. Worilds did post a positive +11.7 grade with PFF for 2014, so he could be a good piece in trying to fix the Falcons woeful pass rush.
The Eagles rotational pass rusher wants good money, and it looks like the Eagles may not be willing to pay it. The 2010 first round draft pick finally started delivering as a rotational player this year, so some caution may be warranted with a guy who has only produced in a contract year.