The Atlanta Falcons continue to moneyball its 2022 free agency process, bringing in former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Genard Avery in for a visit Tuesday.
Avery would be another young addition to the linebacker group, joining former Giant Lorenzo Carter in Atlanta if he signs. Unlike Carter, who closed out his career in New York with a bunch of sacks in his final few games, Avery will be looking to rekindle a reputation as an interesting pass rusher he lost after his rookie season.
Free agent visits today included:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 22, 2022
Texans: Marlon Mack
Bears: Trevor Siemian
Falcons: Genard Avery
Raiders: Vernon Butler
Avery was a fifth-round pick out of Memphis in 2018 and a bit of a darling for the draft community who went to the Cleveland Browns, where he started five games and totaled 40 tackles, 14 quarterback hits and 4.5 sacks in his rookie campaign.
He’s never quite matched that sack production, but last season in Philly, he started 12 games for the Eagles and amassed 43 tackles, 2 quarterback hits and a sack. He’s got 7.5 sacks in his four-year career and 101 total tackles, and he’s bounced between roles as a defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker in that span, especially in Philadelphia.
In Atlanta, he’d help fill out a depth chart in need of linebacker help, with 2022 free agent pickup Lorenzo Carter, 2021 draft pick Ade Ogundeji and journeyman James Vaughters the best options in-house right now to take meaningful snaps. We’re assuming the Falcons, who are desperate for pass rush help, would try him there instead of moving him to inside linebacker as a reserve option behind Deion Jones and Mykal Walker.
He shouldn’t come at an outrageous cost, and clearly has some upside left since he’s only 26 and seeking his second contract. This is one of several workouts without an immediate signing in the past week or so, as they’ve also hosted veterans like wideout Tre’Quan Smith, offensive lineman Nick Easton and tight end Tyler Kroft recently and have yet to signthem to deals.
We’ll see what happens with Avery, who would make you feel a bit better about the team’s depth at linebacker if he joins. The Falcons barely have any cap space at the moment, but once they find their way to more via cuts and/or trades, we’ll likely see a small flurry of signings.
Expect more visits and potential signings like Avery’s in the week to come as the Falcons continue to navigate the 2022 portion of their rebuild without a lot of money to throw around.