The Falcons are obviously not in the playoffs this year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t watch this weekend’s games with an eye on the Falcons’ future.
All of this year’s playoff teams have key players at positions of need for Atlanta hitting free agency this offseason. Two writers break down the free agents they’d like to see the Falcons sign below, and you can weigh in with your choices in the comments.
Mitch Trubisky, QB/TE
I am just as surprised as you. I’d give an honorable mention to guard Ike Boettger and corner Levi Wallace (too expensive), but I think Trubisky is the right mix of potential and value. Atlanta’s backup quarterbacks are a disaster with no ability to fill in for Matt Ryan or provide upside in the future. Trubisky may be a problematic quarterback but Arthur Smith has turned another problematic quarterback into a Pro Bowl player. I’m not saying that will happen here but he’s better than Josh Rosen.
Hell, Arthur Smith will probably give him the Feleipe Franks treatment and let him play tight end, too. — Matt Chambers
DT Harrison Phillips
After seeing Matt’s choice I was sorely tempted to pick Trubisky, too, as I think he’d be an extremely competent backup and a nice fit for what Arthur Smith wants to do on offense. But ultimately I had to go with Phillips instead.
A part-time starter for a stacked Bills defensive line, Phillips offers a little bit of promise as a pass rusher and is a rock solid run defender, and is young, affordable, and still with some remaining untapped upside. The Falcons front seven is a huge mess, but Phillips would provide them with some badly needed above average play and potential on the interior after a year where this team had to rely way too heavily on street free agents they picked up partway through the season. - Dave Choate
Kansas City Chiefs
Charvarius Ward, CB
The Chiefs have a surprising number of big name players hitting free agency. However, those players are so past their primes I struggled to find a player worth grabbing. Andrew Wylie could make sense at right guard but is far from an exciting pick. Corner Charvarius Ward is pretty similar to Wylie — He can replace Fabian Moreau but the upgrade isn’t overwhelming. What a weak group. — Matt Chambers
WR Byron Pringle
Yes, I like his name, but I also like his game. Pringle has been a remarkably sure-handed target in Kansas City, and he finally got actual targets this year and mildly flourished as a result. He finished with 42 catches for 568 yards and 5 touchdowns, and he showed some real red zone proficiency at times in 2021 even if having Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback obviously helps quite a bit in that and all other regards. The Falcons badly need to add talent to the receiving corps and probably need to do so semi-affordably, and Pringle gives them that and a social special teamer. - Dave Choate
Los Angeles Rams
Austin Corbett, RG
The Rams better hope they win the Super Bowl because they are flush with valuable free agents. There is Von Miller, OBJ, Sony Michel, Darious Williams, Brian Allen, and another half a dozen players I would love (or at least like) to sign. But the Falcons have had trouble at guard since Chris Chester retired. Corbett could send Jalen Mayfield to the bench and keep Matt Ryan healthy. He’s a good mix of age, experience and (likely) value that would make this a no-brainer. — Matt Chambers
OL Joe Noteboom
Again, there are a couple of big money free agents here that are incredibly intriguing, including Odell Beckham Jr. and of course Von Miller. I don’t expect the Falcons to have the walking around money to entice either, though I hope they’d at least call Beckham’s agent. Bearing that in mind, let’s go for Noteboom, who is a youngish, capable player with a solid track record as a starter at both guard and tackle, one who I think would be a nice fit at swing tackle and could even push Kaleb McGary at right tackle. He has an injury history, but Noteboom’s talent and versatility would make him a nice addition to a line that needs multiple additions. -Dave Choate
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Alex Cappa, RG
For all the reasons I want Austin Corbett, I want Alex Cappa except x 10. Cappa gave up ZERO sacks on 1,070 sacks before fracturing his ankle. Can you imagine a right guard that gave up zero sacks? It seems impossible. Jalen Mayfield gave up 11. 11! Do you understand how difficult that is at guard? The Falcons would be limited spending on other positions but this should pay dividends for the offensive line. — Matt Chambers
TE O.J. Howard
I fully recognize that we’re well past the hype phase with Howard, but I still think it’s striking how under-utilized he has been in Tampa Bay. Arthur Smith loves tight ends and a 6’6” capable pass catcher who had 11 touchdowns his first two seasons and is still going to be just 28 years old this season seems like exactly the kind of relatively affordable reclamation project a team like the Falcons ought to be taking on. -Dave Choate