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2017 NFL free agency: What is the deal with Johnathan Hankins?

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The young defensive tackle has had a bizarrely quiet market.

NFL: Preseason-New York Giants at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The defensive tackle market featured Brandon Williams (who re-signed with the Ravens), Dontari Poe (who is drawing interest from multiple teams), and Bennie Logan (who signed with the Chiefs). It also features Jonathan Hankins, but you’d never know that by looking around the NFL today.

I can’t overstate how baffling I find this, and I’m not alone. Hankins will turn 25 at the end of the month, so he’s plenty young. He had three sacks and 43 tackles in 16 starts in 2016, and had a seven sack season in 2014, so it’s not like he doesn’t have the production. And he’s a former second round pick, so he’s got the pedigree. You could make a fair case that Hankins is both better than Poe and a better long-term investment.

What’s difficult to discern is whether there legitimately is not much interest in Hankins, or if his team is doing a very good job of keeping that interest quiet. I can’t imagine it would behoove Hankins to do the latter, but maybe I’m missing some brilliant tactic here. It appears that Hankins won’t see his market settled until Poe signs, which should give him a number to chase. Again, he’ll have a convincing case to make that he deserves as much or more than Poe, and perhaps on a longer deal.

Unless there’s something NFL teams are privy to that we aren’t, there’s no real reason why Hankins shouldn’t have a strong market. I expect his demand will increase as time goes on and teams get antsy about addressing the interior of their defensive lines before the draft,

The upshot is that Hankins is still on the market, and if the Falcons feel they’re going to have to pony up big for Poe, they really should be taking a look at a young, talented player that I think would fit their rotation well. Let’s see if they do.