Let’s be clear up front: The Falcons are mostly going to replace Vic Beasley with players they already have, most notably rookie Takkarist McKinley and Brooks Reed. Even without Beasley, the Falcons can bring a deep, talented rotation to bear against opposing offenses, which means their pass rush shouldn’t wither and die. It will be demonstrably worse, however, and with Courtney Upshaw also banged up, it might make sense to go out there and add a free agent or practice squad player to the mix.
They’ll have to cut one of the men on the back end of the roster to make this happen, but that’s not a significant obstacle if the Falcons can find a good fit at pass rusher. I’d expect Nick Williams or Blidi Wreh-Wilson to get the axe if Atlanta does make an addition, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they added one of the names below. The first one, at least, you’ll certainly recognize.
The logical choice for so many reasons, and the player I expect Atlanta to sign if they can come to terms. Dan Quinn knows and loves him, he just spent the 2016 season as an invaluable veteran mentor for Beasley (and a useful pass rusher in his own right), and he could step right in and help out for 20 snaps per game because of that familiarity.
The big questions with Freeney are whether he’s in game shape at this exact moment, how much it would take to sign him, and how well he fits into this rotation once Beasley comes back. Those are all relatively minor questions, though, that probably won’t prevent the Falcons from adding him at the end of the day.
The Falcons may have sniffed around Odrick this offseason, but ultimately they didn’t get close to signing him. The 29-year-old isn’t anything close to any elite pass rusher—there are obviously none sitting out there right now--but he brings physicality, size, and aggression to the line if he’s signed. Particularly if Upshaw is also going to miss time, Odrick would be a logical addition.
Capi might seem like an odd name to add to this list, but the 25-year-old current Giants practice squad player has been unbelievably productive in preseason, spent some time with the Falcons last summer, and would cost the Falcons virtually nothing to bring aboard. You have to wonder how much his preseason production would carry over in the regular season—teams haven’t been willing to find out to this point—but
He’s technically on the roster, if you count the practice squad, but the Falcons could simply promote Jones without mucking around in free agency. He was one of the team’s most dynamic undrafted free agents in preseason, and while you couldn’t expect a ton from him early, he would serve as useful insurance and has enough upside to be interesting if he ever winds up active.
Make the past right, Falcons.