Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the Falcons will let tight end Austin Hooper, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and guard Wes Schweitzer to test the free agency market on March 18, but he didn’t rule out resigning them.
With the Falcons’ limited salary cap, they will not be able to afford all three of the players. The Falcons have 21 players eligible to become unrestricted free agents next month and there is a lot of uproar on the market value of each player. Dimitroff says the market value is an important piece for both parties involved.
“Of course we want them back and will continue to negotiate with those players. But it’s imperative that we see what the market holds for them,” Dimitroff said Tuesday at the NFL Combine. “As you know, we have a salary-cap situation that we’re monitoring closely. And that’s important for us to know exactly where we feel the market is before we make any very solid offers and discussions as far as making agreements on compensation.”
Also, follow the Heavy on Falcons Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Hooper Has Plenty of Options
Beginning on March 16th, Hooper, Campbell, and Schweitzer’s agents will be able to negotiate with other teams.
Dimitroff has looked at the franchise tag and the projection for Hooper is around $10.7 million for tight ends meanwhile, the Falcons are $4.9 million under the salary cap. The Patriots, Packers, and Cowboys are shopping for Hooper right now, so he has several options. Last season, Hooper caught 75 passes for 787 yards and six touchdowns.
Campbell has been the Falcons’ leading tackler over the past two seasons and is a versatile component the Falcons could use on defense. Campbell was drafted in 2016 in the fourth round and has only excelled through his years as a Falcon. He had a career-high of 75 solo tackles and two interceptions during the 2019 season. He had a base of $2 million last season and made $4 million in his rookie contract.
Schweitzer has come in handy as a valuable backup at guard. Schweitzer was drafted as a sixth-round pick in 2016. As a backup, he has played in 46 games and started in 36 of them for the Falcons. Last season, Schweitzer had seven starts in 15 games.
Falcons Ready to Face Reality
It’s inevitable that one of, if not all three of these players, will not be back in Atlanta and Dan Quinn and the Falcons are ready for anything.
“There are a lot of things going on now in terms of the CBA and how that affects a number for things for planning down the road,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “How do you (replace) them, sometimes it’s from within your own team, you’ve developed somebody, you draft somebody, and we’re ready to do that,” Quinn said. “Sometimes, you have a chance to re-sign them to stay in their current role. “The good news is they are still in conversation with the team, but a lot will be decided over the next few weeks.”
The reality is, the Falcons have a chance to be really, really good this year and they will be able to do it with or without Hooper, Campbell, or Schweitzer.