To anyone that thought this would be just another boring Thursday in the NFL offseason, think again. Today marked the first day of real reporting from the 2018 NFL Combine, and the Falcons’ brass was out in full force. Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff gave full press conferences and spoke with the media, revealing a lot of interesting information about their plans for free agency and the draft.
There were plenty of interesting tidbits from Dimitroff’s conversations with reporters, including his thoughts on who might become a free agent and the team’s decision on Vic Beasley’s fifth-year option. Another very important note was picked up by D. Orlando Ledbetter over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Andy Levitre will be back next season, Dimitroff said.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) February 28, 2018
Andy Levitre has been the Falcons’ starter at left guard since coming over via trade from the Titans at the tail end of the 2015 preseason. He’s been an excellent addition, performing at an above-average level in both run blocking and pass protection, and has generally been a rock on the left side of the line. Levitre had started every game since Week 1 of the 2015 season until he suffered a triceps injury in Week 13.
He managed to return briefly in Week 17 before re-aggravating the injury, and was placed on IR before the Falcons’ Wild Card match-up against the Rams. There has been some speculation that Levitre might’ve been a candidate for cap savings, as his $8.3M cap hit in 2018—coupled with his recent injury and the fact that he’ll be 31 this season—made him a logical choice for savings.
Dimitroff and the Falcons appear committed to Levitre for at least the 2018 season—which is the final year of his contract. They may still offer him an extension this offseason in an effort to reduce his cap hit, but they appear to be open to letting him play out his deal as well.
This is a smart move, in this writer’s opinion, as the Falcons already have questions at guard with Levitre in the picture. RG Wes Schweitzer had a passable first year as a starter, but Atlanta would be wise to add competition in free agency and/or the 2018 NFL Draft. I don’t think this move changes much in terms of their draft board, but it could make a DT even more likely in the first round.
What are your thoughts on the Falcons keeping Levitre around for 2018? Do you think they’ll still offer him an extension, or will this be the final year of Levitre in Atlanta?