We’re in the depths of the offseason here at The Falcoholic, and there has been little to nothing in the way of interesting news in ages. So, we’ll have to make some content of our own in the meantime. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you a new Player Profile series where we’ll examine each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.
We’ll get things started with the projected starters. The first group I’ll be taking a look at is EDGE, where the Falcons invested a ton of free agency capital to try and improve upon a unit which produced only 28 sacks in 2019.
Today’s player is veteran Allen Bailey, who spent 8 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs before joining the Falcons as a free agent before the 2019 season. Can Bailey return to form in 2020 after a lackluster 2019 campaign?
EDGE Allen Bailey
Contract: $4.36M cap hit in 2020, signed through 2021 ($5.2M APY)
Career Production: 117 games played, 66 games started | 233 total tackles, 38.0 TFL, 20.5 sacks, 6 PD, 4 FF
2019 Production: 26 total tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 3 total pressures
Previous Teams: Drafted 3rd round (#86 overall) by Kansas City Chiefs (2011-2018), Atlanta Falcons (2019-present)
A significant free-agency signing for the Falcons in the 2019 offseason, veteran Allen Bailey was supposed to come to Atlanta and provide a fearsome presence against the run while not being completely inept as a pass rusher. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Bailey was pretty mediocre in both respects in 2019. While Bailey has never been an elite pass rusher, his ability to produce pressure was at least solid—and even quite good at times, including during 2018 when he put together 6.0 sacks.
Bailey spent almost the entirety of his NFL career in Kansas City, where he played 3-4 DE and took on double-teams on the interior. Perhaps some of his issues in Atlanta were due to the position switch: the Falcons played Bailey at 4-3 EDGE and also on the interior at 3T DT. It’s possible Bailey just needed some adjustment time to the new positions, but his production last season was severely lacking.
With just 26 total tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks, and a measly 3 total pressures, it’s clear that Atlanta did not get much return on their investment in Bailey. In fact, there was plenty of speculation in the offseason that Bailey would be a cap casualty. His release would have saved the team $4.5M, which Atlanta desperately needed. Instead, the Falcons extended Bailey for another season, which reduced his cap charge slightly and put him under contract until 2021.
It’s clear that the Falcons think Bailey has much more to give, and as one of just a handful of established EDGE players on the roster, they need him to play up to his contract in 2020. Hopefully with another year under his belt at his new position and a better supporting cast around him, Bailey will be able to produce like a solid starter this season.
Projection: Around 3.0 sacks and 6.0 TFL with better overall tackle and pressure numbers. Bailey is likely to be an early-down specialist on the outside and a rotational pass rusher on the interior in 2020. With a year to acclimate to his new team and position, Bailey should return to his normally above-average level of play.