One of the no-brainer signings of the offseason for Atlanta was Matt Gono, who can capably play guard and tackle and is a restricted free agent this offseason. The only question was whether the Falcons would take the risk of tendering him at the original round level—Gono was an undrafted free agent—or give him a second-round tender to virtually ensure he’ll remain in Atlanta.
Per Gono’s representation, we now know it was the latter, and the Falcons are keeping a critical piece of their offensive line around for at least one more season. The second-round tender comes in at $3.384 million, which means the Falcons have yet more work to do in order to get under the cap.
Gono, who will be 25 years old this season, has appeared in 21 games over two seasons for the Falcons, with four starts in 2020 between guard and tackle. He joined the team as an undrafted free agent back in 2018 and stuck around, though he did not appear in a game, before entering five games in 2019 and working his way into a more prominent role in 2020.
He’s shown himself to be a capable reserve at guard and really good tackle, impressing in fill-in stints for Kaleb McGary at right tackle last year. At worst he’s a versatile reserve on a line starved for depth at the moment, and there’s a real possibility he’ll push to start at left guard or settle in at swing tackle, depending on how aggressive Atlanta is with addressing their offensive line depth this offseason. He was an obvious re-signing, in other words, and I’m glad the Falcons got the job done here.
We’ll see what role lies ahead, but this puts the Falcons in a much stronger position given that Willie Wright was the only reserve offensive lineman under contract for Atlanta heading into the week. Welcome back, Matt Gono!