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Falcons’ Vic Beasley may need a veteran presence around him to be at his best

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Maybe this is the explanation we’ve all been looking for.

The Atlanta Falcons seem to be bringing Vic Beasley back in 2019. To keep him, they’ll pay Beasley $12.8 million, which becomes guaranteed at the start of the new league year on March 13.

Now, whether you agree or disagree with the decision, we must try and justify this. Is it possible that Vic may be serviceable, with the presence of another veteran defensive end?

Let’s look at 2016, a magical season in which the Falcons won the NFC Championship ... and I’m blanking on the rest. In all seriousness, it feels like forever ago, especially when you remember that Beasley led the NFL in sacks that season with 15.5. The difference between 2016 and 2017 was the departure of veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney.

Let’s fast forward to 2018, more importantly, the second half of the season. In the first eight games, Vic had four QB hits, one sack, and seven tackles. The final eight games of the season, he had four QB hits, five sacks, 13 tackles, and a defensive touchdown. What changed at the halfway point? The team signed veteran defensive end Bruce Irvin.

It’s entirely possible that both of those scenarios are nothing but a coincidence, but we must be careful to dismiss anything. Now I doubt that Vic will return to his 2016 form, where he can lead the league in sacks, but we don’t need that. What we need is a dependable pass rusher who doesn’t disappear from time to time and can be counted on to pressure the opposing quarterback.

Vic Beasley finished strong in 2018 with his five sacks, but Bruce Irvin is currently slated to become a free agent. I personally think the team should bring Irvin back, but if they don’t, they will hopefully sign another veteran defensive end to help compliment Vic’s production.