The discussions that should dominate the next few weeks are as follows: Devonta Freeman’s contract status, whether Austin Hooper and De’Vondre Campbell meet with a cool market and might return, and how the Falcons intend to address their defensive line.
That last one has taken a back burner to the other, more immediate concerns, but free agency is just weeks away and we have no idea how Atlanta plans to tackle it. We do know that unless the cuts are going to be deep and more restructures are in the offing, they’re probably not getting one of the top pass rushers on the open market, which means my dream of Jadeveon Clowney joining the Falcons is still probably dead.
Fortunately, this free agent class isn’t barren of the kind of mid-tier options that could help Atlanta. I’m hopeful they’ll find a way to bring back Adrian Clayborn, but when AtlantaFalcons.com talked to ESPN’s Field Yates, he brought up Mario Addison and Markus Golden as players to watch for Atlanta.
You’ll recall neither of these players made my list of affordable options back in January, but both make sense. Addison is 32 years old, but he’s been productive and effective for Carolina the last two seasons, putting up a combined 18.5 sacks and playing solid run defense, missing just 3% of his tackle tries. He wouldn’t be cheap, per se, but his age and lack of truly elite numbers could put him in Atlanta’s range.
Golden is younger and, based on his recent track record, should probably come a little cheaper. He put up 10 sacks a year ago and 12.5 back in 2016, but had just 2.5 and 0 in 15 combined games in 2017 and 2018 due to injuries. He’s a quality player and a useful one, but not quite as well-rounded and reliable as Addison.
Either or even both would be fine choices to join Atlanta, which needs quality and quantity if they’re going to have any prayer of improving the defensive line in 2020. Golden and Addison would be good additions at a defensive end grouping that currently features...basically just Takk McKinley. At least Atlanta’s got something else at defensive tackle.
Would you sign Golden or Addison?