The Oakland Raiders continued their quest for being the worst team of all time by releasing veteran pass rusher Bruce Irvin.
You know a team that could use a veteran pass rusher? I sure do!
The idea of Irvin joining the Atlanta Falcons simmered down after the former Seattle Seahawks DE decided to go to Oakland in that 2016 free agency cycle, but let’s refresh your memory of a time where it looked like a possibility.
In 2015, a report surfaced that Irvin stated he wanted to be in Atlanta once his Seattle contract ran out at the close of that following season. He did say in 2016 he wanted to stay a Raider, but now that’s no longer the case, as he’s the next man off the S.S. Gruden. Now that Irvin is released and is not subjected to waivers (being a veteran and all), he can really go wherever he wants to go. Why not the Falcons?
In the realm of the hypothetical, a lot connects. Irvin has both played for Falcons HC Dan Quinn in Seattle and is from the Atlanta area. He’d also be joining a team in desperate need of a pass rusher that’s still, publicly, trying to make a playoff push.
On paper, this is a match made in pass rushing heaven. Irvin could come back home and play for a coach he has a relationship with and for a team he’d have guaranteed snaps with.
Frustratingly, it might not be that simple.
Spotrac estimates the Falcons have about $6 million in cap space right now, while Over the Cap offers a more conservative $3.6 million or so. I stopped doing math in 2011, so I won’t try to do my own numbers (I’d end up somewhere in the alphabet, I’d suppose). But obviously, money is tight right now.
A one-year deal for Irvin wouldn’t make much sense; no doubt he’s going to want to seek a multi-year option if he can. If he does, the team, hypothetically, could offer him just enough 2019 guaranteed money on, say, a two-year deal, to satiate not making a ton for the second half of 2018. In that case, you’d probably sell Irvin on the idea this is a guaranteed Super Bowl contender one everyone gets healthy, and one he’d have clearly-defined role on.
Could it happen?
Another thing that would keep this from happening would be simply Irvin’s interest as of now. He might want to take a deal to join on with a Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams or New England Patriots, teams guaranteed to at least make the playoffs, if not host multiple playoff games.
All of those teams could use an extra rusher, and Irvin could want to contend now after a slog of a season out in Oakland. Even a team not quite that prolific could offer him a bigger contract.
And there’s just the question of whether or not the Falcons would be interested themselves. One would surmise they might be, but that’s no foregone conclusion. They might wish to use money to acquire younger players in 2019 to boost the rush, as Irvin just turned 31 Thursday and the Falcons have shown little inclination to add upgrades as they try to whip their own roster in shape.
On paper, this makes too much sense. The Falcons aren’t getting enough pressure against the quarterback right now, and Irvin could, without a doubt, help there.
General interest and finances would likely determine if this is anything or not, but chances are we’ll know early next week if Atlanta has any interest.