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Bair Mail: On Kyle Pitts, Jayden Daniels, 2024 QB options and Van Jefferson

Your questions get answers in this Friday mailbag.

We've come down to it. The last game of the 2023 regular season is nearly upon us. The Falcons will play the rival New Orleans Saints on Sunday with a chance to emerge with an NFC South title and the home playoff game that comes with it.

They'll have to beat New Orleans and hope Tampa Bay loses to Carolina in a game that's being played at the same time. There's a chance to extend the season. It should be a crazy Sunday in the NFC South and across the league.

We've got one more regular-season Bair Mail on this fine Friday, so let's get right to the messages y'all dropped in the mailbag.

Mike S from Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Well Scott time to start talking off-season - saw someone write in a few weeks ago suggesting we offload Pitts; look, he was ALWAYS a luxury pick and would thrive for a team closer to being competitive which the Falcons are not at this time. Give us the counterpoint as to why after the last two inefficient years the fifth-year option is the best move.

Bair: I would pick up Kyle Pitts' fifth-year option without much thought. As a tight end, that option isn't as bad as if he were a receiver. Using a relatively new tier system for fifth-year options, Pitts would've been allocated $9.9 million in 2023. It would lock in at a higher rate than that, but it's not an unreasonable number for a former 1,000-yard receiver with a Pro Bowl to his credit.

Pitts is a good player who should get more explosiveness the farther he gets from last year's knee injury, especially with an offseason of rest and not rehab. I think it's clear the Falcons need to address the quarterback position, and the talent they acquire there could help the air attack and assist Pitts in finding previous form.

Jack Singh from Monroe, N.J.

Hi Scott. Do you think that the falcons will think about getting Jayden Daniels this draft?

Bair: It's obviously uncertain what the Falcons might do at this stage, but I can tell you that if LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is available when I'm doing a mock draft simulator – yes, I'm already doing them and, yes, I have issues. Ha. – I always take him if he's available.

I think he's a talented player with great upside and someone I think could operate well in this Falcons offense. I also like quarterbacks coming from big college programs with a rabid fan base who can produce under extreme pressure. The Heisman Trophy winner has proven time and again that he's able to do that. He's fast and smart and can process information well, with analysts applauding his ability to make the right reads.

The issue is where he'll end up going. It could be as high as the top three, so the Falcons may have to consider a move up – entering Week 18, they're slated to have the No. 9 overall pick – to get him. That would be easier with a top-10 pick, which they won't have if they make the playoffs. A move up from the middle to later portions of the round would be more cost-prohibitive, which is a factor in this whole thing.

But, as a prospect, I think Daniels is really intriguing. That's a move I'd make, if possible, to address some uncertainty at quarterback.

Geoffrey Cobb from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Hi Scott, Happy New Year. Who do you think the Falcons should consider as a quarterback in the upcoming draft? Is there a type of quarterback the Falcons are looking for?

Bair: I think the odds are great the Falcons address the quarterback position at some point during this offseason. You can see above that I'm a Jayden Daniels fan. The Falcons could hit a hard reset at the position, adding a veteran and a drafted player. They could focus on a younger player as well, while sticking with Taylor Heinicke or Desmond Ridder (both guys are under contract in 2024).

I'm worried about going A-list veteran, considering how expensive those players can be. The money might be better spent on other positions, but the free agents offer more of a sure thing to a team that's close at many spots and could win right away with a stabilizing veteran presence.

It's a bit harder to assume the Falcons would go right to the top of the standings with a rookie, so tolerance for another possibly subpar season might be low. How the Falcons address the QB spot is probably the biggest player decision made all offseason. The Falcons have to get it right.

Darrell King from Douglas, Ga.

The Falcons signed #15 Jefferson and in several games I noticed that he would be wide open and the quarter backs don't even look his way. Just wanted to know what's going on.

Bair: I think it's fair to say that the Van Jefferson trade hasn't been as fruitful as the team may have hoped. They didn't give up much to get him – just a swap of a sixth-round pick for a seventh-rounder in 2025 – but haven't received tons of production. He has just 10 receptions for 88 yards on 25 targets, with two interceptions on passes coming his way. That's not all Jefferson's fault, but he hasn't been a regular contributor to an offense that needs more dynamic playmaking ability that his speed should provide. He's a free agent at season's end, and I would consider it uncertain whether he comes back.

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