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One critical truism of free agency for the Falcons: Don't overpay

Don't expect the Falcons to get into bidding wars, which is for the best.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Signing a highly-regarded, expensive free agent isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes the top guy on the market lives up to his contract in a big way, after all, and you can't be afraid to pay for quality.

The problem is that often those players don't work out, and the teams that bid up for them often end up deeply regretting that decision. There's also the temptation to pay a little more to ensure you get the guy you want, as the Falcons have previously done with Tyson Jackson, Paul Soliai, and Dunta Robinson. As we've seen with those contracts, however, it's rarely a good idea.

The Falcons have, as draft analyst Andrew Parsons noted the other day, put themselves in a position where they have some solid players and the cap space necessary to chase values in free agency. They need to avoid getting locked in on their guy--a problem in the draft, where the Falcons have frequently been guilty of trading up to grab a particularly player--and be willing to let the market settle a little bit. If Danny Trevathan, a free agent I like a great deal, should find deals on the open market that are extremely favorable to him, the Falcons probably shouldn't put themselves on the hook at an exorbitant sum for a player who may not look nearly as good on Atlanta's lesser defense.

And that's all I really want to see: The Falcons being patient, shopping well, and using their cap space wisely to land helpful players, not bidding against themselves for the fit they covet. This team catches a lot of flak for not spending big in free agency, but that has been less of a problem than spending on the wrong players, a problem the Falcons' front office reshuffling damn well better help solve.

Keep this in mind if the Falcons get outbid for players, as they will at some point during this offseason, that it may not be the worst thing in the world, so long as they land quality.