- The Athletic’s Josh Kendall and Jeff Schultz broke down the team’s key upcoming offseason decisions, and how they think each decision will play out.
- Kendall feels after talking to Falcons GM Terry Fontenot that the team takes their lumps with QB Matt Ryan‘s contract and his $48 million cap figure. Add in the fact that WR Calvin Ridley will be suspended for the entirety of the season, and it leaves little incentive to continue to try to kick money down the road.
- Schultz mentioned the possibility of the team trading for a young quarterback this offseason in case this is in fact Ryan’s last season in Atlanta. Kendall also adds he doesn’t believe the team will look to acquire Packers QB Jordan Love, who will likely be a trade commodity for teams looking for a young, cost-controlled upgrade at the position.
- Both Schultz and Kendall believe that the team will look to restructure DT Grady Jarrett, which will reduce his cap $23 million cap figure in 2022. Obviously, an extension will be the ideal outcome, but the franchise tag can be used on him in 2023 if a deal isn’t reached. Neither envision a scenario where Atlanta allows him to walk because of what he brings on and off the field.
- Schultz and Kendall also agree that the team should look to trade LB Deion Jones, who hasn’t lived up to his contract in recent years. Cutting Jones will result in significant dead money, which the team likely won’t want to eat, but could receive much-needed relief if a trade partner was to be found.
- The team’s offensive line issues are well-documented, but both writers feel the issue arises from the interior of the offensive line, not on the outside, which leads them both to believe that another year with OT Jake Matthews and OT Kaleb McGary is what’s best for the team at the moment. Restructuring Matthews could also help alleviate the need to restructure Ryan’s contract again.
- Lastly, there’s an agreement that RB Cordarrelle Patterson likely priced himself out of returning to Atlanta. Patterson is 30, his production diminished down the stretch, and will likely be looking for more money on the open market than what the Falcons could and should offer to him.
- NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero writes that the Falcons would like to retain free-agent LB Foyesade Oluokun, but it will likely cost them around $10 million for next season.
- NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo names Panthers LB Haason Reddick as an under-the-radar free agent this offseason after playing last season on a one-year deal. Garafolo thinks he’ll earn a multi-year deal with a figure “well into the double digits.”
- PFN’s Aaron Wilson reports up to 10 teams remain interested in trading for Texans QB Deshaun Watson and are monitoring his legal situation. The Panthers are among those teams and sources characterize them as “all-in” on trading for Watson.
- Wilson adds Panthers owner David Tepper is one of the parties driving interest and has hired an investigator to look into Watson’s situation. It’s also an open point of discussion around the team facility that Carolina is interested.
- Other teams Wilson mentions as interested include the Seahawks and Saints.
- PFN’s Aaron Wilson reports up to 10 teams remain interested in trading for Texans QB Deshaun Watson and are monitoring his legal situation. The Saints are among those teams.
- Regarding the Saints’ quarterback market, Nick Underhill believes “all options are on the table” for 2022 with the front-runner still appearing to be re-signing Jameis Winston.
- However, Underhill adds Winston is expected to have a good market as a free agent and if he signs elsewhere New Orleans would look toward Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater, 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the 2022 NFL Draft.
- Underhill also thinks that the Saints would make calls to Bills free-agent QB Mitchell Trubisky or any other quarterbacks who hit the market.
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