The Falcons promised to make the trenches a priority, and they’re reportedly going to follow through on it tomorrow when free agency officially opens. Jamon Brown is an Atlanta Falcon, per multiple reports.
Falcons expected to sign guard Jamon Brown, source tells me. Last with the New York Giants.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) March 12, 2019
Per NFL league source.. Falcons expected to sign NY Giants starting guard Jamon Brown - It should be a 3-year deal— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) March 12, 2019
The team confirmed the move after free agency officially kicked off on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
The Brown signing, if it’s finalized tomorrow, comes as a relative surprise, because other names had been linked more strongly to Atlanta and Brown’s size (he’s listed at 340 pounds) makes him somewhat of an atypical fit in this team’s wide zone blocking scheme. Brown has transitioned to guard after playing tackle in college, but we’ll have to see where the team announces him when they make this signing official. He started 16 games and graded out quite well in 2017 at right guard, and he started eight games at guard for the Giants last season.
Brown’s appeal to the Falcons is two-fold. He’s solid in pass protection but his chief calling card is run blocking, as he’s opened holes for Todd Gurley and Saquon Barkley pretty effectively the last two seasons, . That’s key because the Falcons have made it clear that running the ball more effectively is a priority under Dirk Koetter, even if I’m a little bit uneasy about what that entails with such a productive passing attack already in place. Importantly, he’s also a young player, as he’ll just turn 26 in a couple of days and has some room to grow his game. If he can play at the level he did in 2017 or 2016, when he graded out as an above average offensive lineman for the Rams, he’ll provide a lift to a team that is starved for better line play. It’s fair to say that’s the plan in place for Atlanta, which would have seen Brown’s addition galvanize a struggling Giants line last year.
It goes without saying that there are question marks associated with the signing, though. Brown did not grade out well a year ago per Pro Football Focus’s offensive line ratings and has never come close to looking like an elite player, was suspended for two games last year under the league’s substance abuse policy, and was waived by the Rams in October. The Giants had nothing but good things to say about him after he joined the team, but Brown is far from a great lineman and his potential signing suggests at least a partial shift in how this team plans to build its line going forward, which suggests in turn that they’re not done making changes.
If all goes well, Brown will join the team and will build on his progress over the last couple of years and be a quality lineman for a Falcons team that really could one. If it doesn’t, Falcons fans may have some questions about a surprise, far-from-inexpensive signing with the team so hard up for cap space. We hope it’s the former, though, and Brown’s size, power, and youth at the very least makes him an interesting signing if Atlanta goes through with it.