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Who is on the list of 2018 Atlanta Falcons free agents?

Answer: A few essential names, and a lot of guys who will be March 2018 decisions.

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Falcons have done a quality job this offseason of landing a couple of critical pieces, keeping most of their own free agents (minus Patrick DiMarco), and keeping a very good team intact. There’s a Matt Ryan re-signing, a Devonta Freeman extension, and the NFL Draft to go, but the big thinking about this team’s cap space is over for this year.

Next year, though? That’s a different story. Here’s a look at the upcoming crop of free agents for Atlanta.

2018 Falcons free agents

RB Devonta Freeman

FB Derrick Coleman

WR Taylor Gabriel

WR Andre Roberts

WR Nick Williams

WR B.J. Daniels

C Trevor Robinson

G Ben Garland

G Hugh Thornton

DT Dontari Poe

DT Ra’Shede Hageman

DE/DT Adrian Clayborn

DE/DT Courtney Upshaw

LB/S Kemal Ishmael

CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson

CB/S Akeem King

K Matt Bryant

I’ve bolded the names I think represent critical re-signings, or at least ones the Falcons will have to weigh very carefully. Bryant is the biggest question mark on here simply because of his age and the fact that he’s defying everything that says kickers decline after 40, but if he has another terrific year in 2017, I can’t imagine the Falcons will pass on bringing him back.

Freeman is a must, and the team has already said he’ll get a contract extension. The other integral offensive free agent is Taylor Gabriel, the speedy receiver who was such a boon for the team a year ago. He only has one exceptional year under his belt, but assuming he provides the same kind of value in 2017, he should be back.

Everybody else (besides superstar Ben Garland) is on the defensive side of the ball. The Falcons will have to weigh their options carefully along the defensive line, where they could lose two defensive tackles, a valuable and versatile defensive end who plays inside, and freshly minted linebacker Kemal Ishmael.

Overall, though, outside of Freeman, Poe, and Gabriel, this isn’t a list loaded with expensive names. That should serve the Falcons well as they navigate a new reality where they’re paying their stars and trying to prop a title window open.