The Falcons went through a disastrous offseason in 2019 when it came to the kicker position. They cut Matt Bryant, handed the job to Giorgio Tavecchio, watched Tavecchio flame out, and ran back to Bryant at an even higher cost. When Bryant struggled, the Falcons decided they had to move on in the middle of the season, and they lucked into a very capable Younghoe Koo.
That wasn’t a given, but the Falcons seem intent on avoiding a repeat of their brutal 2019, starting with retaining Koo.
Koo’s not going to cost the Falcons much, so this has always been a no-brainer move awaiting confirmation. Koo hit 23 of 26 kicks in 2020, showed off a good leg on kickoffs, and is either a genius or insanely lucky when it comes to onside kicks, all of which is more than enough to give him the league minimum for the season ahead. The exclusive rights free agency designation means the Falcons don’t have to worry about another team poaching him this season, either.
As Butt notes in his article above—read it for some good insights on the punter situation, too—Koo likely won’t be afforded the same kind of job security that Tavecchio enjoyed last summer. The Falcons have talked up the special teams specialists in this class and there are plenty of young kickers already floating around in free agency who could compete with Koo, preferably without the team resorting to signing Blair Walsh in some ill-fated attempt to prop up the incumbent’s confidence. They’ll almost certainly bring one in while the rosters stand at 90 to serve as that competition, but Koo will be the odds-on favorite to win the gig in 2020.
If Koo can build on last year and prove to be a quality option again, the Falcons will have enjoyed a rare run of luck at the position. They need more of that luck elsewhere, but all that remains is to see when the offer to Koo comes.