The Falcons are pretty strapped for cap space right now, but that is going to change soon. Due to the designation of Desmond Trufant as a “post-June 1st” cut, the team will be receiving a significant windfall of cap relief in early June. Atlanta will be getting back exactly $10.75M next month, with $4.4M in dead cap remaining on Trufant’s deal. This money is going to be used, in part, to pay for the draft class. Due to the top-51 rule, however, this will only cost the team about $2.5M against the cap. That should theoretically leave about $8.25M for the team to use for potential free agent additions.
If you missed any of the previous entries in this series, you can find them below:
Today’s group is the OL, where the Falcons have relatively established starters at 4/5 positions but still have a significant weakness at LG. Could the team bring in another veteran to compete with James Carpenter and Jamon Brown, or perhaps at swing tackle with Matt Gono? Here are some of the best fits for Atlanta on the current free agent market.
G Larry Warford
A cap casualty of the Saints, Larry Warford turned in a top-10 season at guard in 2019. He’s by far the best offensive linemen currently available on the market, and there’s really no reason someone as good as Warford should be a free agent. While Warford doesn’t necessarily fit the athletic thresholds the Falcons look for and will cost a hefty sum, he’s a phenomenal pass protector and would instantly elevate Atlanta’s offensive line. If this were to happen, it would likely be a 2-3 year deal—and we’d almost certainly see the team move on from both Jamon Brown and James Carpenter in 2021.
G Mike Person
While we all have bad memories of Mike Person’s snapping issues at center in 2015, he’s actually turned into a competent player for Kyle Shanahan at guard. Person allowed just 1 sack in over 900 snaps in 2019 and graded out as a solid starter according to PFF, which would easily be an upgrade over whatever the Falcons had at left guard in 2019. He’s a fit for the zone blocking scheme and has experience with the team and coaching staff, and also shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive. If Jamon Brown and James Carpenter look bad in camp, Person could be a solid stopgap signing to hold down left guard for a year.
C/G Daniel Kilgore
A versatile player on the interior, Daniel Kilgore played his first three NFL seasons at guard in San Francisco before transitioning to center in 2014. He’s spent the last two years in Miami, where he had an injury-plagued 2018 and a solid 2019. Kilgore isn’t a big difference-maker like he used to be, but he still graded out as an above-average starter last season per PFF. His interior versatility also adds to his value. Kilgore will be 33 during the 2020 season, but he shouldn’t break the bank and could provide an upgrade at LG.
T Kelvin Beachum
If the Falcons are looking for a veteran swing tackle option, Kelvin Beachum has experience on both sides of the line and should be fairly affordable. He turned in an above-average season in 2019 per PFF, although he did allow 4 sacks and commit 9 penalties. Beachum has also struggled with injuries as of late, which makes him better suited to a depth role at this stage of his career. Still, Beachum is just 31 and could provide veteran insurance should injuries strike in training camp.
G Ronald Leary
G Kevin Pamphile
G Josh Kline
T James Hurst
T Marshall Newhouse
There are a lot of names still available in free agency on the offensive line, but none that are very encouraging as starters. Leary, Pamphile, and Kline have all started and looked solid at times, but all are coming off down 2019 seasons. James Hurst looked good on limited action in Baltimore this season, and offers some G/T flexibility, but otherwise is an unknown. Newhouse is a much better fit on the left side than the right, but the Falcons could do worse if they’re looking for a veteran swing tackle candidate.
What are your thoughts on the potential for the Falcons to add an offensive lineman after June 1st? Any names that you’d like to see the team pursue, or are you comfortable with the current depth chart?