CineSport’s Brian Clark asks the AJC’s Jeff Schultz whether the right people to fix the Falcons are in place, and if concerns about Matt Ryan are justified.
FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons went bargain-basement shopping in free agency last season.
The offseason focus will be the trenches in free agency and the draft. The problem with the draft is that rookies rarely come in and play at a high level in the trenches of the NFL. Sometimes it takes a while to develop offensive and defensive linemen.
Two of the biggest free agents are slated to be New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, but both will likely never hit the open market. They could both received their team’s franchise tags.
Here are five players slated to be unrestricted free agent that the Falcons must consider:
- Bruce Irvin, Seattle Seahawks, OLB. The Atlanta native wants to come home and reunite with Dan Quinn. He had five tackles, half of a sack and a quarterback hit in Seattle’s 10-9 win over Minnesota on Sunday.
- Nick Fairley, St. Louis Rams, DT. He had 29 tackles and half a sack while backing up Aaron Donald. He finished the season on IR with a concussion. He was effective while playing 427 snaps.
- Alex Boone, San Francisco, RG. Has a torn MCL, but will be the top interior player on the open market. Falcons right guard Chris Chester is 32. Boone is 28.
- Stefen Wisniewski, Jacksonville, C. The center snap was a wild adventure this season. He’s started 76 games for Oakland and Jacksonville.
- Demarcus Dobbs, Seattle. DE. The former Georgia Bulldog is 6-6, 275 and had played in 59 games.
Other interior offensive linemen to keep an eye on include Carolina’s Amini Silatou, Arizona’s Ted Larsen, Houston’s Brandon Brooks and Houston’s Ben Jones.
FALCONS END OF SEASON STORIES
COVER 9@9: How much will Falcons save if they cut Roddy White?