Grading Day 1 of authorized tampering: Falcons clobber free company

It’s been a very long time coming. The Falcons final made a notable addition in free company waaaaaay again in 2020 after even lowly bloggers mentioned the Falcons didn’t have the cap area to signal any huge names. Similar to those that invested within the crypto, the Falcons ignored all frequent sense and threw all warning to the wind with a view to land Dante Fowler.

The Falcons have kind of been in a cap crunch for the reason that Super Bowl, with nearly all of that cap crunch being, the truth is, cap hell. After years, followers and staff alike are escaping from cap hell. We’ve seen Hall of Fame huge receivers and quarterbacks traded. Young expertise go away in free company. The staff pressured to sit down on its fingers in free company.

It’s been a really very long time coming.

To set the stage, the Falcons entered this authorized tampering interval with the 2nd most cap area within the league, behind solely the Chicago Bears. The Falcons may signal a participant at almost any place. The choices had been limitless. But most significantly, Terry Fontenot needed to not do what received the final man fired. No overspending. Be balanced. And no Dante Fowler.

It is lastly right here. The pleasure is so excessive we’re going to do way-too-early grades for day 1 of free company: the authorized tampering version. The new signings are unofficial till Wednesday, however you possibly can rely the offers which have fallen aside on one hand.

Chris Lindstrom Extension: 5 years, $105 million

If you need proof Fontenot isn’t his predecessor, leaping forward of the market and locking up your younger participant with forcing the franchise tag, that is it. Let Lindstorm end out his possibility yr, play below the tag, then you may be paying $23-25 million per yr on a prime guard. While the Falcons up to now had paid guys in that prime 5/prime 10 vary prime 3 cash, Lindstrom is likely one of the greatest within the league and has earned his document breaking contract.

Lindstrom would be the prime paid guard but it surely isn’t by a lot. He narrowly edged out Quenton Nelson’s deal, signed final yr, additionally signed when that blocker was 26. I like this for sustaining continuity, retaining your play makers, and getting forward of the market. Exceptional.

Grade: A

Jessie Bates Signing: 4 years, $64 million

One of probably the most anticipated signings throughout your complete NFL, the Falcons landed the (semi-consensus) prime security in free company. Bates has been phenomenal with the Bengals, in fact. He slots in because the 4th highest-paid security within the NFL, simply pennies increased than Harrison Smith’s deal signed in 2021.

I believed Bates could slot in increased, because of the ever-increasing salaries within the NFL, nearer to the $17-18 million a yr vary proper between Jamal Adams and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fontenot additionally saved the contract size according to the market. Based in the marketplace, it’s a great spot to land. I could have preferred spending on a distinct place however the EDGE expertise out there is missing. An enormous however measured signing.

Grade: B+

Jonnu Smith Trade

The Falcons paid a seventh spherical decide to reunite Arthur Smith together with his prime tight finish in Tennessee. He recipient of 8 landing passes in his final yr with Smith, Smith ought to instantly fill in as a harmful TE behind Kyle Pitts. The phrase is Smith has restructured his deal, however in the mean time, we don’t know what that appears like. The Patriots might be unloading his contract on the Falcons, therefore the low draft compensation.

It is hard to grade this with out realizing what the Falcons pays Smith. Ignoring the contract, since I’ve to, this can be a improbable addition to the offense. Adding a very good tight finish to the nice weapon that’s Kyle Pitts provides an indescribable quantity of versatility. Arthur Smith can prepare dinner up a lot extra with one other weapon in 12 personnel. Pitts can push outdoors and run deep routes all day.

Grade: B+

David Onyemata Signing: 3 years, $35 million

This signing seems to offer Grady Jarrett probably the most assist at sort out in his profession. Onyemata has been fairly good, particularly below Atlanta’s new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen. I believe that is an overpay, particularly for a man who turns 31 this season. Not a drastic overpay, however clearly a push by Nielsen and Fontenot to get their man.

The excellent news is getting their man isn’t too costly. A great enchancment to the staff.

Grade: B-

Keith Smith: 1 yr

We are grading one-year offers for fullbacks. Things have gone wild.

Smith is a reliable fullback who has performed a few quarter of the snaps since Smith began teaching the staff. He performs closely, and impresses, on particular groups. A great under-the-radar signing that ought to present good versatility. We don’t have his contract numbers, however based mostly on the deal size, it’s seemingly fairly near vet minimal.

Grade: B

Bradley Pinion Extension: 3 years, $8.65 million

A multi-year deal for a punter? Have we gone mad?

Pinion continues to be fairly younger for a punter (28) and had just a few spectacular rankings in 2022 after being signed as a free agent. He’s not Matt Bosher however who’s? As a lot as I’d like to have a bone-crushing punter or to search out an UDFA, the Falcons most likely want the consistency in a yr the staff may signal anybody. There’s not a lot draw back.

Grade: B-

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