In recent weeks, I’ve asked you to find a free agent from the week’s opponent to add to the Falcons next season. The problem is that it’s gotten harder to pick every week, given the available free agents, but the good news is that the Jaguars offer a much clearer answer (or two).
Unfortunately, it’s a pretty grim list otherwise. There are two very good players the Falcons should be interested in here, but price figures to be a sticking point for both. Let’s discuss.
DT Marcell Dareus
The sort of moderate risk, high reward move the Falcons should probably be looking to make, assuming the money works out. Dareus hasn’t played a full season since 2013, though he’s clocked 15 games three times since then, and he’s played just six mostly quiet games in 2019.
He’ll be 30 in 2020, but he’s an obvious cap casualty for the Jaguars, who have a club option at $14 million they are not going to pay. Dareus was excellent in 2018 but hasn’t put up the counting stats, meaning his next contract is likely to be much more in line with what the Falcons can afford to pay, and he may be looking for a short-term deal to rebuild his value, along the lines of Dontari Poe back in 2017.
There’s a lot of qualifiers there, but Dareus still has all the tools necessary to be a dominant presence on the interior, and getting him paired up with Grady Jarrett would be fun as hell. If the money works for Atlanta and they’re intent on trying to contend next year, he could be the kind of fun interior signing that worked out so well for the team a couple of years back.
DE Yannick Ngakoue
Here’s the prize. The Jaguars have handled Ngakoue extremely oddly throughout his career, especially considering he’s been an insanely prolific pass rusher through most of four seasons. He has eight sacks this year and 35.5 on his career, and he’s a legitimate difference maker on the defensive line.
It’s obviously still a pipe dream scenario, given Ngakoue’s likely cost on the open market and given that a new regime in Jacksonville should value him more highly than Tom Coughlin and company. If the Falcons could somehow free up the cash to get it done, though, Ngakoue would be a stellar addition and a player who could help to transform this defense for the better.
So hey, dream away.
Beyond that, you’re looking at reserve defenders and special teamers like Najee Goode, one of a million reserve tight ends like Nick O’Leary, or reserve center/guard Tyler Shatley. I’m not saying none of those guys will end up in Atlanta, but you’re not going out of your way to demand them.
Still, weigh in!