Scott "Pushin' P" Bair is still out on his much-deserved vacation, Tori McElhaney has filled in for the last two Bair Mail installments, and today I'll take my crack at filling in for those legends.
With Tom Brady's retirement, Sean Payton stepping away from football – the landscape in the NFC South has changed significantly. After seven wins last season, the Falcons seem to have as good a shot as anyone to win that division.
- NFL Mock Draft: Kayvon Thibodeaux falls to Falcons at No. 8 overall
- Mac Mail: Updates on Falcons pass rush, Raheem Morris, Matt Ryan's contract
- Question of the week: What do the Falcons do with Matt Ryan?; Impact of Tom Brady, Sean Payton departures; Will the Falcons re-sign Cordarrelle Patterson?
- Arthur Blank reflects on 20 years of ownership, Falcons future
The Falcons will still need to improve this team, however, with young players prepared to contribute from the draft and signing players to team-friendly deals that become playmakers, like Cordarrelle Patterson.
In today's mailbag, we will get into what moves the Falcons make this offseason, from a Jordan Love trade to choosing between the two consensus top cornerbacks in the NFL draft in Derek Stingley Jr. or Sauce Gardner.
Let's get into today's mailbag, featuring questions from all over the country.
Ian Snowdeal from Belfast, Maine
Hi Kris, with many mock drafts projecting the Falcons to take a WR in the first round, what do you think the ideal pick is for the Falcons?
Kris: All the way from Belfast, Maine! This has to be a first in Bair Mail history. Thanks for your time and question, Ian. I agree with Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith's approach of selecting the best player available; reaching for a need can hurt a team significantly in the long run.
With that said, though, Calvin Ridley and Frank Darby are the only Falcons receivers on contract heading into next season, and there have been conflicting reports around Ridley's future in Atlanta. Owner Arthur Blank has said he "would love" to have Ridley back, and Fontenot and Smith have publicly supported Ridley. Regardless of Ridley's situation, having another dynamic receiver never hurts, especially if Russell Gage doesn't return. An offense with Ridley, Kyle Pitts, Drake London/Treylon Burks or whomever the Falcons might like sounds pretty scary.
Chris Atlas from Marietta, Georgia
First off, I would like to start by thanking former Falcon Ricardo Allen for his years to the team and congratulate him on his retirement. It would've been nice to as him get a ring but I digress. To the business at hand though, I know there is a lot of talk about going CB with our first pick. As I've told Scott before I'm not sure about Stingley. If I were in the draft room I'm taking Sauce Gardner at this juncture. What are your thoughts?
Kris: You are right to have concerns about Stingley. Missing all but three games of his final season due to surgery on his foot and playing just seven games because of injuries as a sophomore certainly isn't something to gloss over.
Still, what Stingley did as an 18-year-old playing in the SEC on a National Championship-winning team isn't something you can ignore. He was a consensus All-American and led the SEC with six interceptions. At 6-foot-1,195 pounds, he has the ideal size for the position. Combine that with his 4.30 40-yard dash and 42-inch vertical measurements from high school; Stingley is a player I would take the risk for at eight.
Regardless, pairing either Gardner or Stingley Jr, with budding superstar cornerback A.J Terrell would make for long days for opposing offenses.
AJ Terrell showed out during the 2021 season, and we were there to capture every moment.
Jaren Davidson from Cave Creek, AZ
With rumors of Jordan Love going around, do you think the falcons should even think about trading for him? Maybe give up that 2nd rounder from the Julio trade..?
Kris: Absolutely not. As a refresher for readers, Jaren is referencing the second round pick the Falcons received from the Tennessee Titans for Julio jones last offseason (Atlanta also received 2023 fourth and sixth round picks). Tennessee's second rounder will be the No. 58 overall selection.
One game isn't everything, of course, but Love's performance in week nine against the Chiefs defense, which was arguably the worst in the league at the time, was tough to watch. He missed receivers consistently, completed just 55 percent of his passes, and managed just one touchdown in a game where he should have had multiple.
If Love had proven that he could be a legitimate starter, as Jimmy Garoppolo did in New England, then I think the second-round pick for him would make sense. Right now, the risk does not seem worth the reward, as Love has not proven that he is ready to play at a high level. The Falcons could use the pick on another need or even another quarterback.
Daniel Priest from Boston
Can Cordarrelle Patterson be as effective he was in year one now in year two?
Kris: This is the million-dollar question, literally. I think Patterson can be just as effective in year two, especially with Ridley back and potentially more additions to the offense. Patterson would have more space to operate than in 2021, where he and Pitts were the offense's workhorses. Even if the Falcons believe he can replicate the magic he had in 2021, they may be outpriced by other teams, but Patterson has been consistent in reiterating how badly he wants to stay in Atlanta, so the two sides might be able to work out a deal.
Maggie Thornton from Atlanta
What Position Should We Address First In The Draft
Kris: See my answer to Ian's question. I think the Falcons should take the best player available. But for more analysis on this, tune into Falcons Final Whistle tomorrow and read our Question of the Week article that will focus on draft needs from Scott, Tori, and me.
Call for questions
Submit your questions right here for inclusion in Wednesday's Bair Mail.
The Best Season Ticket Member Benefits are Back
We're offering our best season ticket benefits packages ever this year! Find the season ticket benefits that are most attractive to you.