NFL teams have been desperately unloading players to free up cap space to either get under the cap or to have more spending money when free agency starts. After all, legal tampering starts March 13th. They aren’t all easy cuts, with some good players end up on the wrong side of cap calculations and near regimes.
That is good news for the Falcons, who have been stuck in recent years unloading players on bad deals. The Falcons may still have $12 million in dead cap dedicated to Deion Jones, a linebacker that last played for the Falcons in 2016 despite continuing to play for the team until 2021. That means Julio Jones, Dante Fowler and Matt Ryan are off the books, making the Falcons buyers instead of sellers.
Now the Falcons can afford to pick up those players pushed out of their current teams, with many looking to rehab their value for 2024.
EDGE Frank Clark
The Chiefs walked away from this season with a Super Bowl ring. I imagine that feels good. Clark pulled the anti-Vic Beasley and followed up a quieter regular season only to blow up offenses in the playoffs. Still, it wasn’t enough for the Chiefs to find a new deal to keep Clark. Turning 30, he’s likely trying to cash in (again) and may not necessarily be chasing another ring.
Clark’s price will be very interesting. Teams rarely pay for pass rushers who don’t put up sacks, and Clark hasn’t put up double digit sacks since 2018. He’s probably not going to find another one of those seasons, but pairing Clark with Jarrett and a couple of interesting prospects hitting year 2 at EDGE, the defensive line could be looking up.
EDGE Leonard Floyd
You know who does consistently put up sacks? Former Bulldog, Bear, and Ram Leonard Floyd. Floyd was drafted by Atlanta’s shadow commish Ryan Pace back in 2016 and has averaged 10 sacks per year the last three seasons. Floyd would immediately start and should have 3+ good seasons left, providing an immediate boost to Atlanta’s non-existent pass rush.
You have to assume there is a 50/50 shot if only because the Falcons sign half the former Bears that hit the market.
Ben Jones/Taylor Lewan/Other Shambles Offloaded by the Titans
I’m just covering my bases hear which feels like I’m not giving Arthur Smith much credit. Sure, the Falcons haven’t had any money to spend in years, but at no time has Smith chased or overpaid one of his former players. He hasn’t let Jamaal Fudge play 13 games.
Still, Atlanta has some spending money, and Smith could be looking at a former player to fill in as depth. The problem is that the Titans haven’t let go of any interesting players — at least at starting positions. Robert Woods, recently signed by the Texans, could be a decent WR3. Ben Jones fits a position of need (center), but is turning 34 after missing multiple games. Taylor Lewan is the same age as Jake Matthews but is coming off of two ACL surgeries.
The Falcons may be interested in one of these players but I sure hope they aren’t.
C/G Graham Glasgow
While entering his age-31 season, Glasgow is an interesting interior lineman who played all 17 games in 2022. He’s got some good size (6-foot-6) and has experience both at guard and center. At this point, versatility may be more helpful while Atlanta continues to figure out what it has across the interior line. This may be the perfect combination of value and versatility to provide either great depth or bridge to a future starter.
CB Shaquill Griffin
While not a CB1, Griffin has been an above-average CB2 before a back injury shortened his 2022 season and cap problems shortened his Jaguars career. Turning 27, Griffin could be seeking a one-year deal to rehab his value and secure another free agency deal in 2024. He’d fit nicely across AJ Terrell along with widely rumored safety Jessie Bates while providing some really interesting potential upside.