We’ve mentioned, more than once, how precarious the team’s situation along the offensive line truly is. They have a capable backup center in Ben Garland and a couple of interesting young guards, but they lack proven depth nearly everywhere, and that’s extremely true at tackle.
Right now, the clubhouse leader for the swing tackle role is Andreas Knappe, a mountain of a man hailing from parts European who had a nice career at UConn and comes to the Falcons as an undrafted free agent. There’s a lot of upside there, but
Danny Kelly at The Ringer ran down some of the best remaining free agents, and while he’s obviously eyeing Dwight Freeney for the Falcons, another name jumped out at me. That name is Ryan Clady.
If that name doesn’t ring an immediate bell, it’s worth remembering that Clady was once one of the game’s elite tackles before injuries basically ruined him. He last played a full season in 2014, and any deal he’s going to get at this point is going to be a one-year, prove-it style pact. The Falcons, who could find themselves in need of yet another stopgap option to back up Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder, would seem to be a nice fit for an athletic tackle with something to prove.
Of course, you have to be assured that Clady will be healthy enough to play if he’s called upon, and you have to be satisfied that his skills haven’t evaporated after two largely lost years. For the record, I think he’d be a nice flier....if the team needs him. The ideal scenario is still Knappe or another player impressing and providing a cheap, quality swing tackle option for a few seasons.
There are worse options out there at tackle by a wide margin, and if the Falcons’ young mix of options don’t stand out in training camp, Clady could be a legitimate option. Keep his name in mind.