Bell: Don’t Expect Big Splash In Free Agency, Falcons Building Through Draft

Most Falcons fans agree all we really need to do is beef up the defensive line and we’re right back in the Super Bowl.

And/or pick up an upgrade at guard for Chris Chester.

There’s a couple of free agents that would have an immediate impact for this team.

Imagine 6-foot-8, 280-pound Calais Campbell on the opposite side of Vic Beasley. Now we’re in the pass rush bidnez!

Or how bout drafting a pass-rusher from a very deep class of defensive ends and signing the Chiefs Dontari Poe. He’s a big guy that can move. Imagine Poe and Grady Jarrett blowing up opposing offenses from the inside out?

Nick Fairley is out there and the Jets are looking to part ways with former first-rounder Sheldon Richardson.

There’s a number of really good free-agent guards like the Bengals’ Kevin Zeitler or the Cowboys’ Ron Leary. But remember they have to be able to fit our zone-blocking scheme.

No doubt almost all these guys would help, but… we have to sign our own future free agents first and then continue to build through the draft.

The Falcons are already on record that signing Desmond Trufant is Priority 1. The Falcons traditionally offer new deals to star players going into the final year of their contract. The thing with Trufant is, we made it to the Super Bowl without him… then we really needed him in the Super Bowl.

I would let him play out this last year and then worse-case scenario franchise him if you can’t get a deal done. Does anyone really believe Trufant is going to elevate his game and come up with five or six picks in 2017?

The argument for extending Trufant is that teams don’t throw his way and although he’s not a household name in the NFL, you don’t draft and develop a player to the cusp to being one of the top 10 corners in the league just to let him walk.

It’s like Paul Millsap with the Hawks this next offseason. You don’t want to lose him, but you don’t want to blow a ton of cap space to keep him.

You want Trufant out there, but on a contract around $80 million? I’d let him sing for his supper in 2017. No new contract, not now.

Devonta Freeman’s agent, Kristin Campbell, started pining for a new contract at the most inopportune time, Super Bowl week.

I want Freeman to get his deal. Freeman is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. That doesn’t happen very often for this team.

He’s a two-time Pro-bowler with over 1,500 yards from scrimmage last year and the team’s leading touchdown producer. Some general managers feel running backs actually do grow on trees, and a monster deal would be foolish.

What will his people be asking for? He turns 25 later this month. By 30 most running backs are either done with injury or cut going into the last year of their deal. See Jamaal Thomas and Adrian Peterson.

This is former fourth-rounder Freeman’s one big contract of his career. He’ll want $8 million on a five-year deal. Yes, he missed a crucial block in the Super Bowl. That isn’t gonna cost him a new deal, people.

Depending on how the guaranteed money is dispersed, both Freeman & Trufant are still cutting into our salary cap pie for this season.

That’s the point I’m getting to. We will have enough money left for a couple of mid-level free agents, nothing more. So don’t expect that big splash when free agency begins in a few days.

The good news is the Dan Quinn-Thomas Dimitroff partnership nailed it last draft.

If they can do likewise this spring and find us a stud defensive end and guard, there’s no need to bring in expensive free agents.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock told us last week it’s arguably the deepest defensive end/outside linebacker draft class he’s seen.

So deep in fact that the Falcons might be able to find an offensive tackle that could start this season at guard with the 31st pick and still find a fire-breathing pass-rusher in the second round.

I’m like you guys, I always want to add an established star through free agency. Alex Mack was an expensive, but certainly effective fit for a desperate need.

But now we are in a really good place. I hate to say it but… yeah, trust the process.

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One Comment

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