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Big decisions the Falcons still have to make: Alex Mack’s deal

Fact: Alex Mack can sharpen a pencil with his eyes closed

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons need to have a perfect off-season. That’s not an exaggeration; it really isn’t. If the Falcons can’t accomplish a number of lofty goals, they’re doomed to repeat history in 2020. High on their to do list must be the stabilization of the offensive line. And truth be told, when you’re looking to fix a position group that’s already broken, it’s usually a bad idea to get rid of the veteran that’s holding it all together.

Alex Mack signed his 5-year, $45 million contract in March 2016. It’s hard to believe but 2020 is the last year of that deal. Mack is due a base salary of $8 million next season; couple that with his prorated signing bonus of $2.55 million and you get Mack’s cap hit: $10.55 million, or roughly 5.3 percent of the total cap.

The Falcons can achieve a cap savings of $8 million in 2020 if they cut Mack. The problem with cutting ties with Mack is that they’d have to replace him. While Wes Schweitzer looked like a much better player in 2019, he too is headed for free agency. And if you’re thinking Schweitzer is some sort of easy solution (assuming the Falcons decide to re-sign him), he has essentially no regular season experience at center (only 7 snaps last season and none in 2018 or 2017). That said, for what it’s worth, 114 of Schweitzer’s 120 2019 preseason snaps came at center, and he only gave up 1 sack and 1 quarterback pressure over those 4 games.

The Falcons may want to re-work Mack’s contract, but that’s going to be darn near impossible, given the circumstances. First, why would Mack agree to that? He turns 35 next season and there’s no such thing as a home town discount in professional sports anymore. It’s the last year of his contract, so unless they want to extend him, the Falcons only have two options: cut Mack or just leave his contract as is in 2020. I’m inclined to think the latter is what they’ll go with, based on the impracticability of replacing him in 2020 and the team’s actions (or lack thereof) to date. Even if the Falcons cut Mack, he’s likely to land on his feet elsewhere, notwithstanding his age and the fact that he isn’t the otherworldly player he once was.

Your thoughts, Falcoholics?