Though the team said he’d be reaching free agency to test the market, could strongside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell still make a return to the Atlanta Falcons?
That seems to be the linebacker’s official line as to where he’s headed, with an engagement with a Twitter fan reply hinting to a potential return.
“Relax bro I don’t plan on going anywhere unless something drastic happens me, debo and Foye work way to well together for me to Wanna go anywhere else,” Campbell shared to someone who mentioned his status as a free agent.
We should note, however, that it comes right after he deleted a message indicating the organization “said they don’t want me anymore so there’s nothing I can do about that.”
That could be in response to Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff’s NFL Combine line about he, tight end Austin Hooper and guard Wes Schweitzer testing the market to help the Falcons gauge their potential value. Perhaps it’s what the Falcons have told his team behind closed doors.
Regardless, he felt like forgoing that line for a reassurance to Falcons fans that he would want to return.
Campbell coming back would, at the least, cost the Falcons $4-6 million a season. Saints linebacker A.J. Klein, a former reserve in Carolina, signed a four-year, $24 million deal with New Orleans in 2017, and you’d have to imagine Campbell’s camp would want much more than that for its client, who has four years starting experience and has at least stretches of being a very good player for Atlanta.
Relax bro I don’t plan on going anywhere unless something drastic happens me, debo and Foye work way to well together for me to Wanna go anywhere else https://t.co/ws7fXdbfFQ— De'Vondre Campbell (@Came_Along_Way) March 9, 2020
It’d be surprising to see Campbell give the team that much of a hometown discount, if only because he’s a good player entering into his first contract extension in a free agency class that’s not top-heavy at the position. Campbell could, elsewhere, reasonably land anywhere from $7-10 million a season from a cap-heavy team if they really wanted his services, and could even inspire a bidding war. That depends on team needs, sure, but it only takes one team to drive the price up.
Either the Falcons would have to backload a contract for Campbell or the latter would have to take a bit less than he could earn elsewhere to stay in a familiar situation and scheme.
With the Falcons needing to allocate draft free agency and resources elsewhere on the roster, you’d imagine they’d love to have Campbell back for a reasonable price so that the strongside wouldn’t be altered too greatly.
The numbers will have to be right for both sides, though, and judging how this time of year goes, that’s still an undetermined factor. It’s nice to know he’s at least expressing an interest in returning, though, as it’d be one less pressing need for the Falcons to address in an offseason full of them.