The Atlanta Falcons have a lot of holes in and little cap space to do so but don’t panic, they have a plan.
According to NFL Network’s Steve Wyche, the Falcons, who are currently over the cap by about $7 million, are not going to stay quiet in free agency coming up on March 16.
“Look, they’re going to create enough cap space in a lot of different ways to basically be mid-market shoppers and hopefully bring back someone like a Cordarrelle Patterson,” Wyche said during NFL Now on February 28. In fact, I spoke to someone who said they want him to be the model where a lot of guys come in one-year deals to resurrect their career, to try to get the bag the year after that.”
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The Falcons Hit The Jackpot With Patterson
When the Falcons signed Patterson last season, he was fresh off a 2020 season where he saw 85 touches for 364 yards and just one touchdown.
Not knowing they would hit the jackpot, Atlanta inked him to just a one-year $3 million.
Patterson went on to lead the Falcons in the backfield and recorded a career-high of 607 rushing yards, 547 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. Naturally, he’ll be expecting more.
But it looks like the Falcons are planning to make some room for him so he can come back on a bigger deal.
“They’re getting ready to create some cap space,” Wyche said. “As far as Cordarrelle Patterson, that’s a player they’d love to have back.”
And the feeling is certaintly mutual.
“I’ve been around five teams, eight offensive coordinators; being here, I feel like I’m at home. Why not just finish my career here?” Patterson said back on January 5, via the team’s official website. “I’m comfortable with all the guys in the locker room, the coaches, you know, and everybody so why not finish my career here?
“I still got 10 years left in me. Ten years, plus. I’mma be here ’till they kick me out.”
Affordable Free Agents the Falcons Could Sign
Once the Falcons create some cap space, there are a handful of affordable free agents that they can turn to with hopes of hitting the jackpot again.
Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus named three impending free agents last month that Falcons could sign:
1. DE Jacob Martin, Houston Texans
In 2021, the Texans deployed Lovie Smith’s patented Tampa-2 defense behind a four-man front, and Martin recorded a career-high 67.3 grade in his first season as a starter to go along with 38 quarterback pressures.
2. LB Uchenna Nwosu, Los Angeles Chargers
Nwosu delivered the best stretch of his career during the second half of the 2021 season, and it was perfect timing. From Week 8 through the end of the season, Nwosu did not record a single game grade below 65.0 — a remarkable run of consistency at any position. His 27 quarterback pressures over the final 11 weeks of the season were as many as he’s accumulated in any full season prior.
3. CB Eli Apple, Cincinnati Bengals
Signing Apple is going to come with ups and downs, but that’s also one aspect of his value. He can shake off a bad rep or a bad game and bounce back in a major way, continuing to talk as much smack as any cornerback in the NFL in the process. While many wide corners have a preference, Apple is actually capable of excelling on either side of the field, if necessary.
And that’s just a few from a list that runs deep. We’ll see what Atlanta does in a few weeks.