The Atlanta Falcons have a big offseason in front of them after the disappointment of the past season. With some key players hitting free agency, and a lack of cap room, the Falcons will have some difficult choices as the offseason progresses.
The Atlanta Falcons will be looking to put behind the roller coaster of a season that saw the Falcons finish with a 7-9 record for the second consecutive season, missing the playoffs, too. Going into the offseason, the Falcons will have a lot of important decisions regarding which players will return and who will go. There are some names that were big-time contributors that the Falcons will have some tough choices deciding their future with the team.
Just a few names include Vic Beasley, Austin Hooper, Jack Crawford, De’Vondre Campbell, and Matt Bosher. The biggest names being Vic Beasley and Austin Hooper. With such a small amount of cap space left to the Falcons this offseason, the team will have to make some concessions if they want to hold on to some of these key contributors.
Vic Beasley will be the first name at the top of most lists that include Falcon’s free agents. After exercising his fifth-year option last season, the Falcons were hoping Beasley would rediscover what made him great in 2016 when Beasley led the NFL in sacks. Despite posting 8 sacks this season, the year would still be considered a disappointment if you watched close enough. Beasley will most likely find a team desperate enough for some pass rush to sign him up after posting 8 sacks last season, but it’s highly unlikely the Falcons will be that team. For now, it feels as if we’ve seen the last of Vic Beasley in a Falcons uniform.
De’Vondre Campbell and Jack Crawford are two very solid defensive pieces. Neither player has ever been called special or a superstar, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be very good additions for a defense. Campbell led the Falcons in tackles this past season. Crawford finished the year with 0.5 sacks. If one was to be kept, I would lean to Campbell, but his price could be too high for the Falcons taste. If Vic Beasley does exit, the Falcons may look to bring Crawford back on a cheap deal for some pass-rushing depth.
Austin Hooper is the biggest name among the Falcons free agents. Hooper finished the season with 75 receptions for 787 yards and 6 touchdowns. Hooper put up career-high numbers despite missing some time with an injury in the middle of the season. Since joining the NFL, Hooper has improved his yardage, touchdown, and receptions every season. Going into free agency, Hooper will be seeking a big deal, perhaps north of 10 million a year. I know the Falcons would love to hold on to their blooming tight end. If they want to make room for him, there will have to be some restructuring of contracts done. With Matt Ryan and Grady Jarrett already moving some money around, there is a good chance Hooper will get that money to remain with the team.
The Falcons have some difficult choices ahead of their long offseason. With the draft looming, the Falcons are likely to make some of these choices quickly, Hooper being the most important. Only time will tell to see what the Falcons plan to do this offseason. Stay tuned for all the moves and actions.