This Falcons offseason has been heavy on silence and woe, with the team mostly working quietly behind the scenes to get ready for the new league year with a side of depressing Calvin Ridley news. The relative quiet makes sense given that the Falcons have not freed up much cash and don’t figure to be major players in free agency, and I think we’ve all made some level of peace with that.
That’s why the news that the Falcons have interest in Chandler Jones is so unexpected and exciting, even if we need to slap several this is unlikely to happen warning labels on it.
Chandler Jones’ market is about to heat up. #Seahawks, #Broncos, #Dolphins, #Falcons - among others - all eyeing the All-Decade performer, who only just turned 32. Im told Jones will command at least $15-18M on the open market. He wants to play for a contender.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 11, 2022
The appeal for the Falcons is not hard to understand. Jones is one of the best pass rushers of his generation, with 107.5 career sacks for the Patriots and Cardinals, and would be easily the most impactful addition the Falcons could make to their moribund pass rush this offseason. He’s fresh off a 15 game season where he posted 10.5 sacks and still has all the ability that has made him such a fearsome player, even if at age 32 his very best years are probably behind him. Chandler Jones would be, in short, a dream signing for a Falcons team that desperately need to gin up pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The problems concern money and Jones’ reported desire to play for a contender. The Falcons have positioned themselves as a team hoping to be competitive this year while they focus on better long-term outcomes, and in a weakened NFC South it’s believable they could hang around with a good offseason. Believing they could be a genuine Super Bowl contender is a much bigger stretch, and would require the Falcons to put together the sales pitch of a lifetime for a player as good as Jones. We have yet to see the rest of this Atlanta offseason play out, but suffice to say they must have some tricks up their sleeves if they’re even considering pursuing Jones.
The money piece would also be tricky, but the team does have avenues to free up space, ranging from trading Deion Jones to extending Grady Jarrett to altering Matt Ryan’s contract. If they were going to have a budget offseason with just one major splash, Jones certainly would be the guy to take a swing at.
File this under unlikely, in other words, but what an absolute game-changing signing that would be for the Atlanta Falcons.