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Report: Falcons pursuing contract extension with FS Ricardo Allen

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ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reports that the team is interested in bringing back the RFA safety on a long-term deal this offseason.

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In the doldrums of the offseason, we’re all starved for any bits of football news—particularly with two wholly uninteresting teams occupying the Super Bowl this weekend. As free agency approaches, we expect to hear rumors and rumblings about players the Falcons may be trying to re-sign or pursue on the open market.

We received one of those rumblings today from ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, who spoke with general manager Thomas Dimitroff about some of the players the Falcons would like to bring back this offseason. The team is apparently interesting in working out a long-term extension with restricted free agent FS Ricardo Allen.

Here’s an excerpt from McClure’s conversation with Dimitroff:

“Yes, I believe we can create space for Rico and a number of other players,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said when asked if Allen could receive a long-term deal rather than just play under the one-year restricted free-agent tender. “That said, we are always striving for creativity. And decisions made on certain free agents, whether they be restricted or unrestricted, oftentimes are contingent on the creativity they enable or not.”

It’s important to remember that the Falcons have plenty of flexibility with Allen in 2018. If a long-term deal can’t be worked out, Allen will likely be given the second-round tender—which would almost certainly keep him around this year, and potentially give the team even more time to negotiate.

Allen has been one of the Falcons most reliable secondary players over the past several years, and has continued to elevate his play at FS after converting from CB early in his career. He’s arguably the best form-tackler on the defense and has made a name for himself as the “eraser”, preventing big plays from becoming TDs.

It’s funny to look back and remember that Allen was initially drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft under Mike Smith, only to be cut during the preseason. After Dan Quinn took over in 2015, Allen was given the chance to compete for the starting job at FS—and won. He’s been the starter ever since, and while he hasn’t been spectacular, Allen has been above-average at worst and provides strong leadership and football IQ to a young secondary.

Here’s to hoping the Falcons can work out a deal that is amenable to both sides. Even if the Falcons elect to bring in a young, high-upside player at FS in the future, Allen offers the versatility to play anywhere in the secondary. That type of veteran presence and depth is also quite valuable.

What are your thoughts on the team potentially offering Allen a long-term deal?