So, part of that vaunted room filled with heroes from NFL.com have unleashed their top 101 2018 NFL free agents list.
From a general football nerd’s perspective, it’s a great resource to follow to see which high-impact free agents are out there, and a nice distillation of the field in general. Plus, Chris Wesseling’s one of the co-authors, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see him feeling better.
So, looking at this list, what role to the Falcons play in signing any of its top 101?
Well, there’s more of a chance to nab a handful of these guys than you might think.
Let’s start with the in-house candidates. As of now, defensive tackle Dontari Poe clocks in at 19, pass rusher Adrian Clayborn settles in at 59 and speedy WR Taylor Gabriel rounds it out at 69. Now, these numbers will change new players are added, but that’s the general range of where these guys think Atlanta’s top free agents settle in.
We’ve discussed at-length here about what should happen to these guys, but I think it’s safe to assume Gabriel is a goner, and that Poe is going to be a very tricky guy to keep around, considering the 2018 cap. The latter *could* happen if he were willing to take a small cap hit next season and transfer that money onto the far-more open future caps, though, with all the contracts to negotiate over the next three offseasons, Poe’s might fall behind other guys. Clayborn feels the guy most likely to stay from that group, but if the asking price gets too high, he could slip away, too.
What about non-Falcons?
Dave’s already mentioned recently-released OLB Pernell McPhee as a potential Clayborn replacement, and with limited snaps, McPhee could rebound in Atlanta and pitch in the pass rush. It’d be a nice addition. We’ve also discussed guys like TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, DT Dominique Easley, RB Rex Burkhead and G Senio Kelemete a bit before, too.
A couple newer names I’ll throw out there:
- WR Terrelle Pryor disappointed in Washington last season, but he’s got the relentless potential from that stellar Cleveland year to entice as a WR3. If a market doesn’t stabilize for him and Atlanta could add him on a team-friendly deal (and it’s a big if), it’d make this offense as scary as it ever has been with receiving options.
- G Jack Mewhort wouldn’t be available considering his talent and Indianapolis’ recent history of shoddy o-line play if it weren’t for his injuries. But, he’s got the injury bug in his system, and isn’t guaranteed to return to Indy. He’d be an upgrade over Wes Schweitzer at RG if signed, though the latter has proven to be more durable so far, and Mewhort still might get a pretty penny.
- I’ve heard about DL DaQuan Jones for ages since I live in Tennessee, but Aaron Freeman alerted me to his sneaky level of play. He’s a space-eater and can do a little bit of everything. If the Titans don’t bring him back and Poe heads for greener pastures, he’d be a solid replacement if the Falcons don’t want to invest a top pick at defensive tackle. And even then…
- DT Justin Ellis is a noted run defender and would help Grady Jarrett like Poe did. If the price is right on that one, the Falcons should try to make that work if he wants to come to Atlanta.
- WR Donte Moncrief is all but assured to leave Indy, but he’s got the potential to be a nice deep threat as a WR3 if he’s not overtly expensive.
- G Josh Kline would be a cheaper free agent guard if the team wants to give Schweitzer come competition.
- DT Haloti Ngata is entering the twilight of his career but would be remarkable depth. Plus, he’s repped by Priority Sports, who negotiated the Brooks Reed and Mohamed Sanu contracts with the team.
- As the guys write, CB T.J. Carrie is a good slot corner and can return kicks. He could fill two roles for Atlanta if they want to add competition for Brian Poole and change out Andre Roberts as a returner option.
- They’ve got DT Bennie Logan suspiciously low, and if he somehow can be added on the cheap, he could rebound in Atlanta with their coaching staff what it is. If he gets back to his old Philly ways, he’d be a steal next to Jarrett.
- G Matt Slauson is reliable and could compete for the right guard spot if need be.
- OT Chris Hubbard would be a nice swing tackle, with a possibility to slot in at guard.
So, those are the newer names to keep an eye out for if the Falcons want to add an impact body or two that don’t break the bank.
Feel free to peruse the list and let us know who you’d be interested in, and keep in mind, new names will pop up as cuts continue to roll in.