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Cheap remaining free agents for the Falcons

The heavily defensive list proves teams can make important moves in April.

NFL: Super Bowl LIII-New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

As of the end of March, the Atlanta Falcons have a mere 4.5 million in cap space according to Over the Cap. That’s not much to work with, however, Ryan Schraeder’s post-June 1st cap savings are expected to pay for the rookie class.

The Falcons can get some breathing room if they finally work out new deals with Grady Jarrett and Julio Jones, two players currently taking up nearly $29 million in cap space. Extensions will offset small base salaries early in those deals with prorated signing bonuses, meaning cap space!

After any move, the Falcons can pick over the cheap remains of free agency. Similar to a grocery store putting out soon-to-expire food at half price, the Falcons can snag a Ndamukong Suh that is almost as good as a top-shelf Sheldon Richardson.

Here’s my favorite remaining players the Falcons may be able to snag at a discount.

Ndamukong Suh

It is surprising to see Suh still available, but thanks to his age and perhaps underwhelming stats have him unemployed. At age 32, Suh is still a force that would start at nose tackle and open up more for Grady Jarrett. If you wonder how Aaron Donald had 20.5 sacks in 2018 (other than it being Aaron Donald and he cannot be stopped), it was Suh putting in work in the middle. He should be much cheaper than his $14 million deal last year.

Ezekiel Ansah

Ansah hasn’t played a full season since 2015 and reportedly has interested teams looking at his bum shoulder. Per Ian Rapoport, we should know more in mid-April. Ansah could be a sneaky good signing on a cheap prove-it deal.

Timmy Jernigan

Only 26, the run-stuffer didn’t do much with the Eagles thanks to injuries. He’s the Kroger roast chicken at 8pm when things start going at half price. It could be good but you will get what you pay for. He’d be a big upgrade for Atlanta’s DL if he’s healthy but you can’t count on him playing all 16 games.

Muhammad Wilkerson

If Jernigan were an older pass rusher, he’d be Muhammad Wilkerson. He’s no longer the 10+ digit sack artist he was before 2016, but appears to have had bad luck with an ankle injury with the Packers last season. He will certainly have to settle for less than the $5 million one-year deal he signed last year, and could fit in as a rotational pass rusher.

Eric Berry

There is no way this happens but one can dream.

Zach Brown

The Redskins surprisingly got rid of one of their best linebackers for cap reasons. Can the veteran help fans not have to see Duke Riley this year?

Derrick Morgan

The aging veteran was a top target for Dan Quinn in 2015. He was instead left with signing Brooks Reed who managed 7 sacks in four years. Morgan is a solid player coming off a down, injury-riddled season.

Adrian Clayborn

How has this not happened yet? I love Clayborn and he is guaranteed to come cheap one year after signing with the Patriots.

CJ Anderson

Running back is the only offensive spot that makes any sense for the Falcons. I assume they consider the offensive line set (minus at least one rookie), and frankly they are stacked at wide receiver and tight end. Behind the injured Devonta Freeman is Ito Smith and no one you want carrying the ball. Anderson is a steady, if unspectacular, back to give the team needed depth.