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Where will all of the Falcons’ free agents land this offseason?

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One month until free agency!

There’s exactly one month until the new league year begins in the NFL. On March 13th at 4pm ET, select players from all 32 teams will officially become free agents.

Today, I’ll be discussing the 18 Atlanta Falcons players expected to become free agents, and predict where I think they’ll end up this offseason.

Grady Jarrett, DT

One of the bright spots of 2018 was the continued emergence of defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Even though he missed two games due to injury, overall Grady had one of his better seasons. He finished the year with a team-high 16 quarterback hits and eight tackles for a loss. He even finished tied for second in sacks with DT Jack Crawford with six. The team has made it obvious that they don’t intend to let Grady go, so I’d be shocked if he isn’t a Falcon in 2019.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

Justin Hardy, WR

In 2018, wide receiver Justin Hardy’s production took an expected dive. With the Falcons selecting WR Calvin Ridley in the first round of last year’s NFL Draft, we knew Hardy would fall further back on the depth chart. He finished 2018 with a career-low 133 receiving yards and 14 receptions, while scoring twice. The team also tried using him on special teams, where he had 20 punt returns and two kick returns.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts

Steven Means, DE

When safety Keanu Neal was placed on injured reserve at the beginning of the 2018 season, the Falcons signed defensive end Steven Means. The former Philadelphia Eagles player contributed right away, having the best season of his career in 2018 with Atlanta. His 14 combined tackles and three tackles for a loss are both career highs for Means.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

Tevin Coleman, RB

After what ended up being a season-ending injury to running back Devonta Freeman, who only appeared in two games in 2018, running back Tevin Coleman was given the starting nod in 2018, which also happened to be a contract year for him. With the bulk of the carries, fans were expecting a little more from Coleman, who only went over 100 yards in two games in 2018. With the emergence of running back Ito Smith, I don’t see the Falcons retaining Tevin Coleman.

Prediction: New York Jets

Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB

In a perplexing move, the Falcons kept cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson inactive for much of 2018. With the team likely knowing they were moving on from Robert Alford, not giving Blidi more playing time is a bit odd, but probably means he’s moving on.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Zane Beadles, G

With injuries on the offensive line, Beadles started five games for the Falcons in 2018. The eight-year veteran adds depth to the team, but shouldn’t be viewed as anything other than depth. The team should be open to bringing him back, and I can’t imagine he has a huge market anyway.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

Matt Schaub, QB

In an offseason where we see the team making moves to free up more cap space, Matt Schaub may find himself moving on in 2019. The veteran quarterback has provided the team with an experienced safety net, just in case a backup was needed. I personally would like to see the team look at someone younger (and cheaper), such as Kurt Benkert, for the backup quarterback spot.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers

Jordan Richards, SS

There’s not a whole lot to say about Richards. The Falcons traded a conditional seventh-round pick to the New England Patriots for Jordan Richards before the start of the 2018 season. Richards likely wasn’t expected to start, but due to injuries, was forced to. As Patriots fans warned us, Richards wasn’t good. He couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. He lacked the instincts and technique to be an asset in coverage for the Falcons when they needed it most.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars

Ty Sambrailo, LT

The Atlanta Falcons had disastrous results from their offensive line for much of the 2018 season. So much, in fact, that Ty Sambrailo received starts at right tackle in place of Ryan Schraeder, who was struggling for much of the season. The question comes down to if Sambrailo earned the confidence of quarterback Matt Ryan and the coaching staff to return in 2019.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings

Bruce Irvin, DE

The Falcons signed defensive end Bruce Irvin, an Atlanta native, in November. He impressed many fans, including myself, as he finished the year with 3.5 sacks and 13 tackles for the Falcons. It’s expected that the team will pursue a younger edge rusher, but after cutting Brooks Reed, resigning Irvin is a move the Falcons need to make. Even in his limited time as a Falcon, he added excellent depth at the defensive end position.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

Kemal Ishmael, LB

The sixth-year hybrid linebacker/safety didn’t do a whole lot in 2018. Used mainly in a reserve role on defense, Ishmael did play on 74.6% of the special teams snaps in 2018. The team improved from 32nd in yards allowed per kick return in 2017 to 17th in 2018. New ST coach Ben Kotwica may want to bring in his own guys, so for the sake of guessing, I’ll say Ishmael is gone. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if he returned to the Falcons next season.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars

Logan Paulsen, TE

Used for his blocking, veteran tight end Logan Paulsen was signed by the Falcons to a one-year deal in 2018. With Pro Bowl TE Austin Hooper stepping up, and the hope of Eric Saubert taking a leap, I’m going to guess the team will move on from Paulsen.

Prediction: San Fransisco 49ers

Ben Garland, G

The 2018 NFL Salute to Service award winner, Ben Garland, is set to become a free agent this March. If I were the team, I’d keep him around considering he’s exactly what you expect from a backup. He’s versatile, so in times of injuries, you can plug Garland in and he won’t necessarily lose you games.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

Terrell McClain, DT

Brought in to help the defensive line following the departure of Dontari Poe, McClain left the team wanting a little more from the veteran defensive tackle. With the emergence of Jack Crawford (I told y’all) and Deadrin Senat in 2018, the Falcons will continue to enhance the position, likely through the draft. He adds experience, and in a reserve role, that’s what you want. I’m on the fence about McClain, but I’ll just guess that he’s back.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

Justin Bethel, CB

Used primarily on special teams, Justin Bethel was just as good as you’d expect him to be, but he’s a noted disaster in coverage. The team may not want to have a roster spot tied up by a player who only plays special teams next season. With a new ST coach, I’m not assuming anyone is safe on special teams.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals

Andy Levitre, G

Spending most of 2018 on injured reserve with a torn tricep, the Falcons have a tough decision to make on Levitre this offseason. Following two straight season-ending injuries, and with plenty of unreliability already on the offensive line, I think we’ve seen the last of Andy Levitre in a Falcons uniform.

Prediction: Houston Texans

Derrick Shelby, DE

After being cut during last offseason, the team decided to bring back Derrick Shelby for the 2018 season. He made little to no impact, as he was eventually placed on injured reserve to finish out the season. He’s been one of the team’s best run stuffers, but it’s not difficult to be on such a poor run defense. If Shelby is on the roster next season, it likely means the Falcons struggled this offseason to improve the defensive end position.

Prediction: New York Giants

Jon Condo, LS

Josh Harris should be back and healthy as the long snapper, so bye Condo.

Prediction: No idea

Well folks, that basically sums up my opinions on the Falcons impending free agents. Please keep in mind that any of these players, such as Grady Jarrett, could be signed to an extension before free agency begins. Additionally, safety Brian Poole will be a restricted free agent and wide receiver Marvin Hall will be an exclusive restricted free agent. Everyone will have differing opinions on which players will stay and go, and where they will play next season. Let me know your opinion in the comments below!

As always, you can find me on Twitter @EvanBirchfield, and make sure to follow our Instagram account @The_Falcoholic. Thanks for reading.