Editor's note:The statements and opinions regarding players and/or potential future players in the article below are those of the AtlantaFalcons.com editorial staff and are not of the Atlanta Falcons' football personnel unless noted in a direct quote.
We've got another Wednesday mailbag on the docket during this relatively slow period on the NFL calendar. It's about to pick up in a big way, with the NFL schedule release on Thursday and Falcons rookie minicamp coming in right after that.
- One question for every Falcons position group: Part I, the offense | Part II, the defense
- Living within your purpose: The story of Bijan Robinson from those who know him best
- State of Falcons roster after 2023 NFL Draft
- What's missing on Falcons roster after 2023 NFL Draft?
- Analysis: Why no one should be surprised Falcons took Bijan Robinson at No. 8
- Question of the Week: Biggest rookie impact (not Bijan); New Falcon we're excited to see
So let's take this time, in this mailbag, to discuss how these new acquisitions will fit in with the old ones, how Desmond Ridder will fare and how high to place his bar, plus a broader look at how all these big moves will impact the Falcons' salary-cap situation moving forward.
Robert McCoy from Statesboro, Ga.
I've read a lot of you mail bag and see concerns over the wideout position. I, for one, think the Falcons are in a great position. I know coach smith likes different personnel packages than what most falcons fans are accustomed to. I can foresee the success of a 2 TE, 2 RB, 1 WR set. Do you think the falcons are going to target another WR? Or sit tight with what they already have?
Bair: I have been an advocate for adding another receiver. I can see some logic in standing pat, too, considering that Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson can play well outside and in the slot. That's more of a possibility with depth at their natural positions.
Case and point: Pitts has more freedom to roam with Jonnu Smith a talented in-line tight end who can block and be a receiver from that spot. Patterson's in a similar spot. He can move around to receiver or be a man in motion more often with Tyler Allgeier and/or Bijan Robinson in the backfield. Let's also not forget that Patterson can be a battering ram near the goal line, and Robinson's able to play anywhere as well.
Expanding on your point a bit, Robert, I think this depth of versatile talent could benefit Pitts and Patterson. Being able to move around and find mismatches should lead to big plays in the passing game especially. Both guys are dynamic with the ball in hand, and quarterback Desmond Ridder's the type be aggressive and push the ball down the field to them.
Arthur Smith has plenty of options to move his chess pieces around almost anywhere, and find ways to get those two the football.
Tarik Nichols from Knoxville, Tenn.
Why are 1st round QBs given so many chances to succeed while lately rd QBs are easily dismissed? At one point Ridder was in the conversation with Pickett to be the first QB taken in the 2022 draft? One year later Pickett is viewed as the obvious starter in Pittsburgh yet Ridder is treated like an afterthought in Atlanta. Here is a comparison of the first 4 games for each player.
Pickett - TDs - 2 INTs - 7 Sacks - 7 passer rating > 90 - 0 QB rating >70 - 0
Ridder - TDs - 2 INTs - 0 Sacks - 9 passer rating > 90 - 2 QB rating >70 - 1
Pickett had several rough outings, yet there was never any talk of benching him of drafting another QB. Jordan Love hasn't proven (outside of practice) he is the future. If Ridder had been drafted in the 1st rd would the narrative be different?
Bair: It certainly would be, Tarik – well thought-out and researched question, btw – and it is even with him as the 2022 NFL Draft's second quarterback taken.
As a minor aside, I found it odd that the tone seemed to turn after Ridder was essentially named the starter heading into the offseason program. There was, to borrow Tori McElhaney's term, a Ridder Ruckus demanding the rookie replace Marcus Mariota. Then he was given more opportunity after four promising starts and folks were upset with that. Maybe it's because Lamar Jackson was theoretically available at the time – he wasn't – but I think rolling with Ridder is smart from a team building perspective.
They have a talented, developing player on a third-round rookie deal, allowing the Falcons to build and spend heavier at so many different spots. If he thrives, the Falcons are in a great space moving forward. Ridder will benefit from the additional talent and, if he's solid and smart with the football, the Falcons will be better. If Ridder doesn't work out in '23, then you go hard and draft a quarterback high.
Will Smith from Summerville, Ga.
Hi, Scott. I'm pumped about all the free agent signings and the draft. That said, I'm hoping that Terry is looking far enough down the road to keep up out of the "cap hell" our previous GM got us in. Should we worry or trust that he knows what he's doing? Thanks.
Bair: Good points there, Will. Staying out of cap holy heck has been a factor in contract negotiations during this offseason. When you hear Terry Fontenot talk about discipline and proper parameters, that's what he's referring to. He didn't want the Falcons to go crazy and put themselves in a bad spot down the road. They were able to achieve that despite spending heavy on tons of talent. The key moving forward, though, is to avoid renegotiations and restructures that push cap troubles down the road and create major headaches in future seasons. You can do that some, but relying on it over and again will eventually prove costly. I can't imagine the Falcons putting themselves in that situation anytime soon.
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