As we inch our way toward free agency, teams are starting to make cuts to free up cap space and rid themselves of veterans who no longer fit into their 2018 plans. That means a lot of mediocre players are going to hit the market, but it also means some useful ones are likely to shake loose in the weeks ahead.
Of course, some already have. The Falcons will have a handful of interesting defenders to take a look at, but at the moment, former Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee and former Chiefs safety Ron Parker are two of the more interesting options either available or soon-to-be available.
Bears release veteran defenders Pernell McPhee and Quintin Demps https://t.co/AEqS2UkXFB— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 26, 2018
Let’s start with McPhee. He’d chiefly play defensive end in Atlanta’s scheme, and he’d be an option to add to the end rotation who brings some legitimately useful pass rushing skills to the table. He’s only had a handful of seasons over four sacks, but at 29 and with his ability not in question, he’d be a cheaper potential option to replace Adrian Clayborn. The chief concern with him is health, as he hasn’t played sixteen games since 2014, when he was still with the Ravens. If the Falcons can’t or won’t bring back Clayborn, though, I think McPhee will and should be in play.
Then there’s Parker, a player the Falcons the Falcons are considerably less likely to sign. The chief reason to mention him is that the Falcons are not four deep at safety at the moment, and they were linked to the speedy and talented safety way back in 2015 free agency. Parker’s still likely to look for starting safety money, so he can’t be particularly likely to wind up in Atlanta. If his market doesn’t develop, though, you can expect Atlanta to be watching him.
It’s also worth noting that the Panthers continued their head-scratching teardown apace, cutting ties with veteran safety Kurt Coleman whilst also picking up a huge option for lousy tackle Matt Kalil. Coleman is an interesting, quality player, but I don’t think the Falcons are in the market for a true starting safety, and I think that’s the kind of contract Coleman is going to get. Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal should roll right along.
We should see more interesting candidates roll in in the coming days, so keep an eye out.