A surprisingly disappointing 7-9 record in 2018 put the brakes on what appeared like a legit contending window for the Falcons. They've made significant changes this offseason in hopes of rebooting on the fly, and pushing back up the NFC South inline with the Saints.
Notable Additions & Subtractions
The Falcons came into the offseason hellbent on ripping up their offensive line and moving forward. Out goes guards Andy Levitre (retirement) & Wes Schweitzer (bench), & right tackle Ryan Schraeder (released), and in come James Carpenter (NYJ), Jamon Brown (NYG), & the promotion of Ty Sambrailo. They'll be immediately pushed by first round pick Chris Lindstrom (OG) & second round pick Kaleb McGary (OT), putting a ribbon on a new-look O-Line in Atlanta. From there, the Falcons saw RB Tevin Coleman jump ship to San Francisco, while on the defensive side of the ball, cornerbacks Robert Alford & Justin Bethel were asked to do business elsewhere. Atlanta used its third round selection to bring in CB Kendall Sheffield from Ohio State to counter these moves.
The Cardinals signed 14 free agents, combining for $56M of total contracts, $24M of which is guaranteed. Three of these signings (Carpenter, Brown, & TE Luke Stocker) figure to be in the mix to start in 2019. Atlanta's biggest offseason money likely hasn't been spent yet, as DT Grady Jarrett remains on an unsigned $15.2M franchise tag, LB Deion Jones enters a contract year, & WR Julio Jones continues to express interest in a top-of-the-market receiver contract. The Falcons have until July 15th to lock in Jarrett to a multi-year extension, after which he'll be stuck to the franchise tag.
Top 2019 Cap Hits
|Pos.||Age.||2019 Cap Hit|
Top 2019 Cash Earners
|Matt Ryan||QB||34||$44,750,000||Ryan receives the second half of his $46.5M signing bonus in 2019, plus an $11.5M salary, plus a $10M option bonus.|
|Jake Matthews||OT||27||$15,500,000||Matthews enters year two of his $72.5M contract signed last offseason. His $9M option bonus & $6.5M salary are already locked in.|
|Grady Jarrett||DT||26||$15,209,000||Jarrett's franchise tag is 6 times more than he made across his entire four year rookie contract from 2015-2018. He's likely seeking around $35M of upfront guarantees on a multi-year deal though.|
Top Active Career Earners
|Matt Ryan||QB||34||$178,707,925||Drafted prior to the rookie wage scale, Ryan's 3 NFL contracts have total possible values of $67.5M, $103.75M, & $150M. His current deal runs through 2023.|
|Matt Schaub||QB||37||$90,555,000||Schaub has earned around $12M as Ryan's backup for the past 6 years, but earned almost $70M from his days as a starter in Houston. 2019 will be his 16th NFL season.|
|Julio Jones||WR||30||$76,609,579||Jones is already 9th on the all-time WR earnings list, and will find himself Top 5 after 2019 - even without a new contract.|
Notable 2020 Free Agents
|Vic Beasley||DE||26||Beasley was the worst graded Edge defender according to PFF in 2018, but appears poised to stick around on his $12.8M fully guaranteed salary. The high salary likely keeps him off the trade block at the deadline, so it's most likely he walks next March, barring a major comeback season in 2019.|
|Deion Jones||ILB||24||Jones has been one of the best-rated inside linebackers each of his first three seasons, and would probably already have a new deal under his belt were it not for the ridiculous money the Jets decided to hand to CJ Mosely this March. That deal completely shattered the ceiling for interior linebacker money, putting players like Jones, & Bobby Wagner in a very good place.|
|Austin Hooper||TE||24||A quick start to 2019 for Hooper, who's coming off of a 71 catch, 660 yards, 4 TD season in Atlanta, will push him way up the extension candidate list.|