Now that the Falcons have locked up right tackle Ryan Schraeder with a 5 year, 33 million dollar deal, it’s natural to wonder what player may be next to “cash in” for the team. There are a few names that warrant attention.
The starting free safety for a young and growing defense is only 24 (he turns 25 in December) and is a free agent after this season. While Allen hasn’t been a lights-out player in the secondary, he’s shown that he can handle the position, even if he’s not the “Earl Thomas” for Quin’s defense. The team may opt to look for upgrades during the off-season or through the draft, but Allen is a potential target to get under contract - even if it’s not a sizable one.
The Pro-Bowl fullback for the Falcons is also a free agent after this season. At 27 years old, DiMarco still has plenty to give and he’s shown himself to be a reliable run blocker who also plays well on special teams. Given the importance of the fullback in Shanahan’s system, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team try to get him signed before he hits free agency.
This is a name that many fans may not be paying attention to, but Ishmael has quietly played well in reserve duty. As a player who has filled both linebacker and safety responsibilities, Ishmael has good value as a reserve player who can start in a pinch. With a physical safety like Keanu Neal, having a capable back-up is never a bad idea. The only caveat here is that Ishmael may be looking for starting opportunities, which the Falcons likely won’t be able to offer. If he can’t find those opportunities elsewhere, though, the team should make a move to get him extended.
The name most people thought of first was Desmond Trufant, and for good reason. The Pro-Bowl corner has been excellent from day one, and is one of the few truly good shutdown corners in the league. While the Falcons have Tru signed through 2017 (under his fifth year option), it seems unlikely that they’ll let him get anywhere close to free agency. Trufant is likely going to look for top money, and should get it. Patrick Peterson got a seven year deal worth $83 million (~12M/yr) while Richard Sherman got a five year deal for $59 million (~12M/yr). I’d expect Trufant and the Falcons to land right in the 11.7 to 12.5M/yr range when a deal finally does get done.
Who do you think is next in line to “get paid” by the Falcons?