The Falcons are expected to be fairly active in free agency, and if they could somehow hurt their division rivals while enriching themselves, it would be most welcome.
That's why we're going to note the free agents we'd most like to see the Falcons scoop up from their NFC South rivals. Several of these are unrealistic, a couple of them might be realistic, and all of them would probably make Panthers, Saints, and/or Buccaneers fans at least a little angry. Win-win.
CB Josh Norman, Panthers
There's no way the Panthers will actually let their star cornerback walk, of course. The would-be superhero has put together two straight years of dominant play, and even with their stocked cornerback depth chart, Atlanta would love to have Norman opposite Desmond Trufant.
DT Henry Melton, Buccaneers
Melton's not a star, but if the Falcons wanted to add someone with a little bit of pass rushing prowess to the interior of their defensive line, he'd be a fine pickup. The 29-year-old had two sacks for the Bucs this past year and has a history of sniffing out the quarterback, with 22.5 sacks in six seasons.
If you wanted to see Doug Martin here, please look at the Falcons' running back depth chart and kindly move along.
TE Josh Hill, Saints
There were rumblings that Hill might be a fantasy asset in 2015, but that didn't really happen. Still, he's a big tight end who has reeled in seven touchdowns over the last two seasons, he's not yet 26 years old, and he'd presumably be happier if he wasn't stuck in New Orleans.
DE Jacquies Smith, Buccaneers
Seven sacks in eleven starts at age 25. He won't be playing next to the likes of Gerald McCoy in Atlanta, of course, but Smith would be a very nice upgrade for the Falcons' defensive end rotation, albeit one likely to cash in on a decent payday.
G Tim Lelito, Saints
A 13 game starter in 2015, Lelito is a solid athlete for a 6'4", 315 pound guard, and he'd unquestionably be a more intriguing option at right guard than bringing back Chris Chester. He's also still just 26 years old. Many of you will prefer Jahri Evans, but I question how effective he'll be going forward given his age and injury history.
WR Stephen Hill, Panthers
Hill has never been anything but a big, fast wide receiver who can't force his way on to the field since he arrived in the NFL back in 2012. That said, the Falcons have a big need at wide receiver, and Hill is somehow still just 24 years old and capable of pulling his career out of a tailspin and becoming a contributor. I'd seriously consider this one.
Who would you choose?