Rodger Saffold was the crown jewel of the free agent guard class back in 2019 and a player that Falcons fans were dying to see the team sign. Infamously, Atlanta instead wound up with James Carpenter and Jamon Brown and Saffold spent the last three years in Tennessee paving the way for Derrick Henry.
You can’t erase that mistake from history—lord, do we wish we could erase a lot of Falcons mistake from history—but there’s now an opportunity to get Saffold in Atlanta. That’s because the Titans just cut him.
Falcons don't have a lot of money to spend, but Arthur Smith loves Saffold. https://t.co/DQTglpdga7— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) March 10, 2022
Atlanta is going to have to be choosy about where they spend their dollars in free agency this year, but it’s evident they need to upgrade either left guard or center rather than simply trusting that Matt Hennessy and Jalen Mayfield are both going to take major leaps forward after lackluster seasons in 2021. If they’re looking to replace Mayfield—hell, if they’re looking to give Mayfield a year to develop while keeping Matt Ryan alive—Saffold could be their lone big signing.
The dollars and Saffold’s age may give them pause, as he’s going to be 34 this season and has only played in 15 regular games each of the past two years. He’s coming off another typically fine season and is a player Arthur Smith knows extremely well from his days as the Titans offensive coordinator in 2019 and 2020, so it’s not hard to imagine the Falcons’ head coach making a big push to shore up a guard spot with someone he trusts and likes. Signing Saffold would give this team a formidable guard duo, let Mayfield develop and function as experienced depth for a year, and make a shaky offensive line a lot more sturdy.
This may end up being just another logical connection that doesn’t pan out, but it’ll be worth keeping an eye on Saffold given the confluence of this team’s need for guard help and Smith’s familiarity with Saffold.