The list of free agents for the Falcons has grown quite small. They’ve either announced they’re not re-signing those players, lost them to other teams, or brought them back at this point.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t still useful unsigned players who could return to the team, however. Let’s check on those who remain and decide whether the Falcons will or will not re-sign them.
DE Adrian Clayborn: Yes
Maybe this is wishful thinking, but Clayborn deserves to come back and would be exactly the kind of relatively low-cost, useful signing Atlanta needs to make the rest of the way. Clayborn was one of the team’s more effective pass rushers last year, remains a solid run defender, and is a quality veteran locker room presence on a team about to get significantly younger on the line. I’m hoping a 1-2 year deal is on the way.
S J.J. Wilcox: Maybe in the summer
The Falcons actually have a ton of bodies at safety right now, so I don’t see Wilcox joining up at the moment. Assuming Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen and Damontae Kazee are all healthy, the Falcons have those three locked in as at least part-time starters, plus Jamal Carter, Chris Cooper, and Sharrod Neasman as death. If injuries hit the depth chart and Wilcox is healthy over the summer, though, the Falcons obviously like the veteran and could elect to add him.
RB Kenjon Barner: No
Atlanta’s talked up the specialists in this class and figure to add at least one of a receiver or running back with some return chops. I imagine the Falcons won’t return to Barner, even though he was very solid a year ago, in favor of trying someone new in the gig. The fact that they haven’t already made him a priority while they were busily re-adding key special teamers like Younghoe Koo, Ryan Allen, and Sharrod Neasman suggests they’re at least going to try another route.
S Jon Cyprien: No
Cyprien actually came over in a trade with the Eagles and barely played because of injury. I doubt he’ll be back.
CB Jamar Taylor: No
The Falcons need help at corner but if they had wanted Taylor back, they likely would’ve re-signed him already with cornerback rapidly thinning out. A draft pick or two and Wreh-Wilson should take care of the position, but keep an eye on Taylor if the Falcons need help during the summer.
DL Michael Bennett: Yes
I expect Bennett to be back to occupy the final spot on the defensive line at some point, but the Falcons will probably dig around in the open market before they get there. Bennett has shown flashes in practice and over previous summers, but injury has largely kept him from making an impact in Atlanta.