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The complete list of 2022 Atlanta Falcons free agents

Here’s who the Falcons will be considering re-signing.

NFL: NOV 07 Falcons at Saints Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2022 offseason is under way for the Falcons, and one of the most pressing questions of the months ahead concerns this team’s free agents. Atlanta will head into the year with a limited number of players under contract and without a ton of cap space, meaning they’ll have to prioritize who they bring back.

The list that follows is heavy on veterans signed for a year and role players and lighter on impact players the Falcons absolutely must keep, but there’s no question in my mind that there are priority re-signings

Here’s the full list of Falcons free agents heading into the offseason, courtesy of Over The Cap.

Unrestricted free agents

  • QB Josh Rosen
  • QB A.J. McCarron
  • RB Cordarrelle Patterson
  • WR Russell Gage
  • WR Tajae Sharpe
  • TE Hayden Hurst
  • TE Lee Smith (possibly retired)
  • OL Josh Andrews
  • OL Jason Spriggs
  • OL Matt Gono
  • DL Jonathan Bullard
  • DL Mike Pennel
  • OLB Brandon Copeland
  • OLB Steven Means
  • ILB Foye Oluokun
  • ILB Daren Bates
  • ILB Emmanuel Ellerbee
  • CB Fabian Moreau
  • CB Isaiah Oliver
  • S Erik Harris
  • S Duron Harmon
  • S Shawn Williams
  • P Thomas Morstead
  • LS Josh Harris

I’ve bolded some names here that I think may end up being priorities for Atlanta, though that’s purely guesswork at this point. That’s a very long list of free agents.

On offense, the Falcons may be interested in bringing back a healthy McCarron, as they clearly liked him as their backup heading into the season before he was hurt. Patterson is an obvious priority if they can make the contract work, given that he was the team’s offense for large chunks of the season, while Gage was productive despite having to function as the team’s top non-Kyle Pitts receiving option. The Falcons never got to see what a healthy Gono could do, but I have to imagine they’d have interest in bringing him back given the state of their line depth.

Defensively, there are plenty of players I think Dean Pees and company would like back. I threw a dart and picked Harmon out of the list of three free agent safeties because he was reliable and durable, two things Pees appears to value a lot, and Means is bolded for exactly the same reason. Moreau was good enough to earn another contract even if he’s not a full-time starter in 2022, while Oliver was terrific before going down with an injury and would seem to be in the team’s plans so long as he’s healthy. Oluokun is the biggest name on this list and figures to be perhaps the priority of free agency for Atlanta, given how much praise Pees has given him and the growth he showed throughout the season.

On special teams, I’d bet heavily on Harris and Morstead returning, given that both were stellar this past year.

Void year

  • OLB Dante Fowler

Fowler will count for nearly $4.7 million against the 2022 cap, but it’s just a void year and he is not under contract. After two years in Atlanta and a combined 7.5 sacks, it seems unlikely the Falcons will bring him back, but perhaps they’d like to see how he’ll play in a defense that has a couple more playmakers.

Restricted free agents

  • WR Olamide Zaccheaus
  • WR Christian Blake
  • TE Jaeden Graham
  • DL Anthony Rush
  • K Younghoe Koo

I didn’t bother bolding anyone because a team with this many free agents seems likely to want all of its restricted free agents back. Zaccheaus can fill in at returner in a pinch, has been a capable enough reserve receiver and is a solid tackler on special teams, and it feels like a no-brainer to bring him back at the original round tender. Blake is a deep reserve and special teamer, but ditto given that bringing him back costs the Falcons very little.

Graham was lost to injury but has ties to the coaching staff and would be returning to a depth chart that is basically just Kyle Pitts and Parker Hesse at the moment, so I have to think he’ll be re-signed. Ditto Anthony Rush, who was a capable enough nose tackle on a defense that had been searching for one.

Finally, there’s Koo, who you have to bring back. He’s turned into one of the league’s most reliable kickers the past two seasons, and the only question is whether he gets a first round or second round tender.

Exclusive rights free agents

  • RB Qadree Ollison
  • OL Colby Gossett

Both of these guys feel like no-brainers. The running back depth chart right now is just Mike Davis and Caleb Huntley if he gets a futures contract, and Ollison has proven to be a capable reserve at worst. Ditto Gossett, who stepped in to start for Mayfield and seems like exactly the kind of solid enough, versatile offensive lineman this team should want to keep for what amounts to pennies on the salary cap.

Who do you see this Falcons team keeping in 2022?