The team freed up about $4 million in cap space for this year with Matt Ryan’s blockbuster contract extension, and may jump back into free agency now that they have some spending money. It’s likely anyone signed at this point in free agency comes in at or a little above veteran minimum. Put defensive tackle right at the top of their shopping list, having added only Deadrin Senat to replace the loss of Dontari Poe and Courtney Upshaw.
Per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, that player could be Terrell McClain.
Falcons have expressed some interest in free agent DT Terrell McClain, according to source, but no visit set up at this time. McClain visiting the Dolphins now.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) May 4, 2018
McClain would probably be the fourth defensive tackle that shuffles in as a decent run stopper. He signed a four-year, $21 million deal just last year, but the Washington Redskins added defensive line talent through the draft, making McClain expendable. He put up two sacks last season, and 2.5 the year before with the Dallas Cowboys. Those numbers look pretty small, but not when compared to Dontari Poe’s 2.5 sacks on significantly more snaps.
The Falcons are reportedly not very interested, as they haven’t even setup a visit with McClain. My guess is the team has checked in with McClain’s agent, but feel no rush to meet with him based on something like expected cost or his desired role.
The fan favorite is definitely Johnathan Hankins, who is waiting a long time for a deal the second time in one year. The former New York Giants defensive tackle put up an impressive 7 sacks back in 2014, but has only 5 in the last three seasons.
Lucky for Atlanta, they aren’t in need of a starter, but simply a reserve tackle. Grady Jarrett is an unquestioned starter, and we expect to see a healthy dose of the rookie Senat and a healthy Jack Crawford. A strong possibility is the full slate of 2019 NFL draft picks gives Thomas Dimitroff an itch he just can’t scratch without trading for a defensive tackle. Think Ty Sambrailo but good.