The Falcons had a stunningly clear offseason plan: improve the front seven. We don’t need to get into specifics, but there were times last season when the defense didn’t play well. Especially at very inopportune times. Terribly inopportune times. Franchise-crushingly inopportune times.
Anyways, the Falcons got rid of some familiar names along the front seven, including Paul Worrilow, Tyson Jackson, and Jonathan Babineaux. They added primo defensive tackle Dontari Poe, versatile DL Jack Crawford, and first and third round picks Takkarist McKinley and Duke Riley. Both Adrian Clayborn and Derrick Shelby should return from injury.
That’s an insane talent infusion in just one offseason. But do the Falcons still have enough edge players to get through the season? Brooks Reed may be a long shot for a roster spot, and there’s a lot of guys who can fill in but have had health issues. Could the Falcons bring back Dwight Freeney to mentor and fill in?
At age 37, Freeney is oooooooold. He didn’t show up too often on the stat sheet, but was a semi-consistent presence in the backfield. He’s also considered one of the reasons Vic Beasley went from invisible presence to elite pass rusher. Freeney should be a bit more effective on fewer snaps, and can hopefully help some of the younger players with the learning curve. His salary last year was a reasonable $1 million, and shouldn’t cost any more than that this year.