Is it Wednesday already? I feel like this week is flying by. Ha. Scott and Tori are at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis holding it down, so be sure to follow all of their coverage throughout week.
- Bair: Why discipline is essential for Terry Fontenot, Arthur Smith to execute Falcons offseason plan well
- Falcons release quarterback Marcus Mariota
- Falcons announce coaching staff changes
- Terry Fontenot addresses Marcus Mariota release, QB situation in 2023
- 'I do think Des' future is bright': What Arthur Smith had to say about Desmond Ridder's 2023 trajectory
In this Wednesday edition of Bair Mail, we hit on a couple different topics so let's get right into your questions.
Jim McIntosh from Park City, UT.
Do you think we might have a New Orleans Saints defensive lineman free agent coming to Atlanta? The Falcons need help on the defensive line both at DT and EDGE and by picking up two defensive lineman in free agency that would allow us to take the best available player at No. 8. And that might include either an offensive lineman or a premier cornerback (Devin Witherspoon would be my choice ). . Outside of the two New Orleans D lineman Arden Key might be a good fit? Do you think Daron Payne will be too expensive??
Edmunds: All the way from Utah! Thanks for the question, Jim. I think it's very possible to acquire a player like David Onyemata through free agency, especially with him having ties with Falcons defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen. And yes, I agree. The defensive front is the Falcons' top priority this offseason.
If the Falcons do sign an edge rusher and defensive lineman through free agency, I think they'll draft a cornerback. Mainly, to add depth and flesh out the entire defense. The offensive line isn't Atlanta's most pressing need. To your question about Daron Payne, I don't think he will be expensive considering the amount of cap space Atlanta has. With the Falcons parting ways with quarterback Marcus Mariota, that saved $12 million in cap space.
Atlanta will now have more than $65 million in cap space to spend in free agency, per OverTheCap.com. So, with all the being said, bringing Payne to Atlanta is extremely possible. The Falcons need a versatile lineman to help Grady Jarrett wreak havoc on the interior. And the great thing is, Atlanta is in a really good spot to sign one.
Tarik Nicholas from Knoxville, TN.
Hey Scott! I appreciate making the Friday edition of Bair Mail *and Friends* (since Ashton and Tori regularly contribute). I hope you haven't given up on my Daron Payne question. Ha! Got another one for you to ponder (have we trademarked Speculation Season yet Tori?). Fans might riot at not taking a Pass Rusher at #8 but if the top options are off the board & trading back isn't an option, with BPA being sometime TF & AS swear by, which position is next on your list?
Personally, I've been looking at tape of the top CBs in this class & come away impressed by three: Christian Gonzalez, Joey Porter Jr., & Devon Witherspoon. Each stands out for his own reasons & arguably any of the 3 would lock down the side of the field opposite AJ Terrell. Would you go CB? OL? WR? Thoughts?
Edmunds: Yeah, Falcons Twitter just might go into a frenzy depending on who Atlanta ultimately decides to do take in the first round. Ha. I mentioned this above in the previous question but I think the Falcons will take a cornerback at No. 8 overall if they don't draft an edge rusher.
I really like Devon Witherspoon from Illinois. Dude is nice for real. He has great upside, speed, awareness and physicality. Those are all attributes you want in your defensive back. Plus, I think he'll mesh really well alongside a veteran cornerback like A.J. Terrell. But, you can't really go wrong with either of the three cornerbacks you mentioned. I know that Joey Porter Jr. has been a common name linked to the Falcons in a few mock drafts.
Bill Whitten from Killen, AL.
Scott, if the Falcons choice in the first round at #8 is between the 3rd best edge rusher and the #1 corner back which would you choose?
Edmunds: I'm going with the third best edge rusher without a doubt. And I say this because there are a ton of talented edge rusher's in this year's draft. Even if Will Anderson Jr. and Myles Murphy are taken, you still have Tyree Wilson, Lukas Van Ness and Nolan Smith, who are all great players. Obviously, it ultimately comes down to fit when drafting the right player but the Falcons have really good options to decide from.
Nathan K. from San Jose, CA.
Hi, I just found out that Carson Wentz got released. I know every quarterback needy team out there believes that they will end up with Carson Wentz. But I can't help wondering if Carson Wentz finds his way to Atlanta. Arthur Smith has revived Ryan Tannehill's career when it looked to be over. Atlanta has the money, and has weapons like CP, London, Pitts, etc. Please prove me wrong. I don't necessarily hate him on this roster but he is definitely an unnecessary move if we do sign him.
Edmunds: What's up, Nathan. I don't think the Falcons should sign Carson Wentz to be the starting quarterback, but, just say Atlanta ultimately decides to name Desmond Ridder the starter for the 2023 season. Would Wentz be terrible a backup? I don't necessarily think so. Despite what has happened over the last five years of his career, the guy is still a former Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro quarterback. Plus, signing Wentz as a backup wouldn't hurt the Falcons in terms of cap space. I think having a veteran like Wentz in the quarterback room could be beneficial for Ridder.
Call for questions
Be sure to submit your questions right here for inclusion in the next Bair Mail installment.
Join us as we take a look back at our favorite photos of our home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, during the 2022 Atlanta Falcons season.