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 stated the Falcons didn’t have the cap area to signal any large names. Similar to those that invested within the crypto, the Falcons ignored all widespread sense and threw all warning to the wind as a way to land Dante Fowler.

The Falcons have roughly 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 crew alike are escaping from cap hell. We’ve seen Hall of Fame large receivers and quarterbacks traded. Young expertise go away in free company. The crew pressured to take a seat on its arms 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 bought 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 choice 12 months, play underneath the tag, then you may be paying $23-25 million per 12 months on a high guard. While the Falcons up to now had paid guys in that high 5/high 10 vary high 3 cash, Lindstrom is among the greatest within the league and has earned his file breaking contract.

Lindstrom stands out as the high paid guard however it isn’t by a lot. He narrowly edged out Quenton Nelson’s deal, signed final 12 months, 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 essentially the most anticipated signings throughout your complete NFL, the Falcons landed the (semi-consensus) high 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 greater than Harrison Smith’s deal signed in 2021.

I believed Bates could slot in greater, because of the ever-increasing salaries within the NFL, nearer to the $17-18 million a 12 months vary proper between Jamal Adams and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fontenot additionally saved the contract size according to the market. Based available on the market, it’s a great spot to land. I’ll have favored spending on a distinct place however the EDGE expertise accessible is missing. An enormous however measured signing.

Grade: B+

Jonnu Smith Trade

The Falcons paid a seventh spherical choose to reunite Arthur Smith along with his high tight finish in Tennessee. He recipient of 8 landing passes in his final 12 months 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 meanwhile, we don’t know what that appears like. The Patriots could possibly be unloading his contract on the Falcons, therefore the low draft compensation.

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

Grade: B+

David Onyemata Signing: 3 years, $35 million

This signing seems to offer Grady Jarrett essentially the most assist at deal with in his profession. Onyemata has been fairly good, particularly underneath 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 superb enchancment to the crew.

Grade: B-

Keith Smith: 1 12 months

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

Smith is a reliable fullback who has performed a couple of quarter of the snaps since Smith began teaching the crew. He performs closely, and impresses, on particular groups. A superb 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 remains to be fairly younger for a punter (28) and had a number of 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 seek out an UDFA, the Falcons in all probability want the consistency in a 12 months the crew may signal anybody. There’s not a lot draw back.

Grade: B-

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