Free agency starts for the NFL on Wednesday, and not a soul knows what could be in the works for the Atlanta Falcons.
We’ve heard rumblings of interest in offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile, a Tampa Bay veteran who has worked with Dirk Koetter in the past. He’d be a very good depth signing, and a decent-enough stopgap option for either guard spot or maybe even right tackle.
Now, we’re closer to having an exact idea of where the team’s mind might be heading into midweek, and a few more names to consider as potential Falcons.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shared a piece of information pertinent to what position group the Falcons seem to zeroing in on for the first wave of free agency.
He says the team is “expected to try to sign an offensive lineman,” and namechecks Pamphile as a potential option.
D-Led mentions that the Falcons tried to sign Sweezy in free agency in 2016 before he ventured to join the Buccaneers for two seasons. He returned to Seattle last year.
Sweezy didn’t do so well in PFF’s eyes last season, grading out as a “45.7” in their eyes. That’s “not good.” That's good for “below average” status. Nonetheless, he Seahawks appeared to be happy with him in his return and wanted him back for 2019. His old OC Darrell Bevell is now with the Lions, making that a potential landing spot, too.
Easton was undrafted out of Harvard in 2015 who found a home with the Vikings. He started for the team in 2017 for a good stretch before finishing the year on IR, and then, unfortunately suffering a camp neck injury that sidelined him for all of 2018.
PFF was not big on him in 2017 outside of his pass-blocking, which they said was fairly strong at one point in the season.
The Vikings reportedly will discuss bringing Easton back this coming week, as he’s been medically cleared for the 2019 season.
The Falcons are not going to be able to get in a bidding war for either player should that be where this is headed, and to be quite honest, they don’t need to. Sweezy is a solid guard with a ceiling; Easton more laden with potential but is more raw has injury history. Neither option portends a super-sound fix, but both could come in and get the job done right now.
If we were picking a favorite, we’d say Pamphile, but Sweezy feels like the most Thomas Dimitroff type of move to settle left guard. To be very fair to TD, his gamble on Andy Levitre paid off big time, so maybe this would work. Easton could also be someone who grows into being a great pass-blocking guard (what you need in a Koetter offense), but he’s young, has struggled elsewhere and has the health you must consider.
Other options are out there, too. Stalwart guard T.J. Lang just got a release from Detroit, former Falcon Tom Compton is out there as well. Many names could filter in here and there as affordable options, though not many would be ones you'd want to hear about.
The team only has, per D-Led, $6.7 million right now, though that’ll change once the team inevitably extends Grady Jarrett, reworks Julio Jones and either restructures or releases Ryan Schraeder. Brandon Fusco could also be a surprise release down the way, with a post-June 1 cut clearing out most of his salary (about $4 million, per OTC).
The offensive line only has two confirmed starters in Jake Matthews and Alex Mack. Both guard spots and right tackle are up for grabs, even if we suspect right tackle will go to Sambrailo. We’ll see if the team’s first free agency signing answers one of those questions.