Tuesday, May 8, was the last day where signing a veteran player would count against the formula that allots those picks.
If you’ve wondered why it’s been radio silence on the team adding that last defensive lineman to the rotation, well, here’s your answer. The gates have parted, though, and the team can now be free to add whomever they want without it affecting the 2019 comp picks.
The team has about $7.5 million in cap space per Spotrac, and will add $3.5 million when they get the money from the Levine Toilolo release. That’s a nice little stash of about $10 million to dole about here and there to supplant the depth on the roster with veteran faces. A Jake Matthews extension might even add $1-3 million more. Though, remember, the Falcons love to keep a little cap money for in-season rainy days.
The league average for this time of year is $17 million, so they’ve got just a little less than most folks do going into the season.
Dave’s reviewed the list of positions the team might look at for veteran help, and I’ve tried to scout out the defensive line help that’s available at the moment. Since then, the team has been linked to guys like DT Terrell McClain, who was released post-draft, and DB Will Blackmon, who was with Dan Quinn for a brief stint in Seattle. Don’t forget those brief whispers about the team having an eye for ex-Bucs DE Robert Ayers back in March.
Thomas Dimitroff has said the team is looking to add some veteran depth to the DL, so look for that to be a definite point of emphasis going forward.
I’ll also recommend you check out Matt’s piece on the team’s situation with Duke Riley, and if there should be any pause about his status as a starter. If there is, the team now has two probable compensatory draft picks to play with, and remember, they were linked to Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks as a potential trade destination. That would certainly give the team a de-facto starter at weakside linebacker. Though, the book isn’t shut on Riley being a good player there.
Dave and I also exchanged in a great point/counterpoint about the team’s situation with tight end depth (look, it’s May). I’m on the side of bringing in a veteran like Antonio Gates at this stage, though Dave’s piece has warmed me up to the possibility of letting Eric Saubert grow into the snaps being left behind by Toilolo.
Sark’s former USC TE Randall Telfer, a 2015 draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, has been bouncing around the waiver wire this week, and the connection there makes you wonder that, if he can pass the Falcons’ physical, they might throw him in to the camp competition to see what he’s got. He’s primarily known as a blocker, but maybe Sark could get something out of him. His health is apparently a concern, though. Just food for thought.
Of the former Falcons available, Ahtyba Rubin, LaRoy Reynolds, Courtney Upshaw, Derrick Coleman, Sean Weatherspoon and Jordan Tripp all could make sense as summer additions (particularly Coleman if the FB battle goes downhill), though Upshaw is visiting with the Eagles, and could sign there, and Coleman visited with the Jets pre-draft.
Rubin seems to make the most sense of anyone to add, and maybe they really were just waiting for May 8 to roll around to bring him back. But, then again, they could wish to go younger at the spot.
Other than that, you’re up to the grand world of speculation as to where this is headed. The defensive line, the linebacking core, the secondary, and heck, maybe even fullback and tight end, could all see new, experienced faces join the mix.
Now that May 8 has gone by, the team has the greenlight to get some moves made.
We’ll be watching and waiting to see what they do.