Brooks Reed has been a weird signing for the Falcons in his first season. He was injured for most of the season and even when he got to what seemed like full strength, he didn't see the time in the rotation that was expected. The Falcons need to get more out of Reed in 2016, or the Falcons shouldn't keep him past that. He's going to have to show that he's worth a spot in the rotation as a strong-side linebacker or LEO in base and a pass rusher in the nickel.
2015 Season in Review
Reed showed flashes on film of what he could do when he was healthy. But for the vast majority of the season, Reed was just a body out there and the Falcons were honestly better playing some combination of Nathan Stupar and Kroy Biermann in the roles that Reed could occupy. Reed was a good run stuffer on the edge and was one of two players who understood how to consistently set the edge in base defense.
However, the Falcons got very little raw production out of him and could do much better in future seasons than what he provided. Should he be healthy in 2016, Reed should contribute more than the paltry amounts he did in 2015. Reed also played a little bit in coverage, but was very poor there. It will be interesting to see how the Falcons view him moving forward after this 2016 season.
Reed has four years left from his five-year, $22 million deal that he signed before the 2015 season. His 2016 season salary guarantees on March 11th, 2016. His cap hit of $3.44 million in 2016 is more than worth keeping him around on a prove-it style situation. Should he make the Pro Bowl at any time during his contract, his cap hit will rise in future years from a $5.0 to $5.5 million range by $1.0 million each year.
Reed should stick with the Falcons in 2016 in what will turn out to be a prove-it season for the 28-year old linebacker. He's a talented fit for the scheme and a good overall athlete, but the Falcons need to get actual playing time from him. If he's 100 percent healthy, the Falcons could use him at strong-side linebacker or even potentially LEO in base packages and as an edge rusher in the nickel packages.