In the midst of an epic teardown and tank job, the Jets are letting go of the few quality players they have left. It’s natural that when big, impressive names hit free agency, Falcons fans are interested in those names.
With the news that the Jets have cut longtime linebacker David Harris and will look to rid themselves of injured wideout Eric Decker, it’s natural to ask whether those players have any chance of winding up in Atlanta. It’s also natural for me to take your crystalline, fragile dreams in my hands and lovingly crush them into powder. The Falcons are not going to sign either of these guys.
Why not, you ask?
Let’s start with Harris. In years past, the Falcons probably would have been thrilled to have a veteran leader like Harris in tow, particularly one who is still a solid player at the age of 33. Now, though, the team’s group of linebackers is young, athletic, and quite talented, and Harris would be nothing more than a locker room presence and backup. He can probably snag a starting job elsewhere, so I doubt he’ll have any interest in Atlanta even if the Falcons for some reason took a shine to him.
That brings us to Decker, who probably isn’t an option simply because the Falcons have plenty of receiving options, and because they lack the cap space to make a truly competitive offer. There’s also the small fact that Decker hasn’t been released yet and may be traded, which makes things even less likely. Decker is rehabilitating from a pretty significant injury, but he’s also a very good wide receiver who is a legitimate red zone weapon. At age 30, he has 385 receptions for 5,253 yards and 75 touchdowns, including 12 with some pretty lousy quarterback play in 2015. If healthy, he’d be a very good second option in this receiving corps, but Mohamed Sanu is already here, Taylor Gabriel needs plenty of looks, and Justin Hardy is one of the stars of the offseason thus far.
So that’s that. The Falcons will continue to turn over their roster over the coming months, but it’ll mostly be the bottom of the roster. Unless injury strikes, the Deckers and Harrises of the world will continue to go elsewhere.