Scott Bair is on vacation, and I - for one - am very happy. He needed a vacation, so I hope he enjoys it. In the meantime, all editorial content is flowing through me over the next week. That includes the next few installments of Bair Mails.
- How good can Kyle Pitts be in Year 2?
- Falcons sign veteran defensive tackle to one-year deal
- Bair Mail: On Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, Calvin Ridley, Anthony Firkser and more
- Finding the Falcons rookie class: Drake London, Arnold Ebiketie, Troy Andersen; Desmond Ridder; DeAngelo Malone, Tyler Allgeier, Justin Shaffer, John FitzPatrick
I wanted to start things off with a bang, and fortunately you all provided some really solid questions to end this week. Mainly, we're going to address the elephant in the room: Why the heck are the Falcons signing so many dang Bears players?!
Let's get into it.
James Pierce from Middle Georgia
Hey first time question so thank you for the opportunity to get what's on my mind answered. I been noticing a lot of signings from the Bears. Am I the only one thinking ok the Bears have not been to playoffs in years so I would think players from winning team could improve us more than ex bears. I know we have Bears personal as of last yr but I just can't see a difference maker there.
James, welcome to the mailbag! Thank you for your submission.
To answer your question: No. You surely are not the only person thinking about this. Since the signing of Eddie Goldman, it's the only thing on anyone's mind. And I get it. I see the Ryan Pace jokes. I, too, think they're funny. But realistically the Falcons are not in the position to entice players who can be immediate difference makers. Right now, the Falcons can't afford difference makers in the way we view difference makers. They're looking for value finds. You're looking for players who can help you bridge the gap from Point A to Point B cheaply. Heavy emphasis on "cheaply." So, as much as I think everyone would love to see a big name come to the Falcons, that's not going to happen this offseason because big names come with a big paycheck that the Falcons are not in the position to pay at the current moment.
I would also like to make a note that it's not just former Bears players the Falcons have picked up this offseason. They've gathered a lot of former Titans, too, that all have a history with Arthur Smith. Think Marcus Mariota, Anthony Firkser and Rashaan Evans.
This is a trend we saw last year, too. I know people forget but Dave Ragone and Charles London came from the Bears. So did Cordarrelle Patterson, Jonathan Bullard and James Vaughters midseason.
Of course, you'd love for every one-year deal to yield the results of Patterson, but that's the exception to the rule not the rule itself. You're looking for veteran role players, and often times coaches or the front office have a comfortability and rapport already established with players they've previously coached. They know they can get them here on a short-term, cheaper deal, which is what the Falcons can provide right now. None of the players we are discussing here (former Bears players or otherwise) have signed a deal longer than two years. This is temporary, and big names - usually - are not.
Let's take the example a step further. Think about Dan Quinn, who's now the defensive coordinator in Dallas. Who did he pick up in free agency last year? Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee on one-year deals. This isn't an uncommon practice by any means when teams are trying to fill in depth and veteran talent at certain positions.
Marx Turner from Covington, Ga.
Please help me understand why they haven't brought in or aren't pursuing J.C. Tretter? A proven solid center would be huge upgrade. No longer have two 2nd year players side by side. They could make a deal work if they really want to.
Sure, they could. But would they want to spread out that type of money when they already have Matt Hennessy and Drew Dalman still on their rookie deals? Cleveland cut Tretter to clear over $8 million in cap space this year. Could the Falcons make a similar cap hit work? Sure. But that pigeonholes them when trying to bring in more depth elsewhere. They only have $12 million in cap space at the current moment, per Spotrac.
I am personally not ready to give up on Hennessy or Dalman yet. I think Hennessy gets criticized more than he should simply because he's filling the vacated role of Alex Mack. That's tough to do when Mack was one of the best centers of the last 13 seasons. For Hennessy, yes, he needs to improve his pass blocking as a full-time starter, but his run blocking in 2021 looked pretty solid and I really liked what I saw from him in that regard. As for Dalman, he's going to get a chance to push Hennessy for that starting spot during training camp. What can he do with that opportunity? I want to see how things shake out with these two before I go out and get someone like Tretter. But that's just me!
Will Smith from Summerville, Ga.
Hi, Tori, welcome back. What single player has impressed you the most so far this preseason, and why? Thanks for y'all's hard work and excellent insights.
Hi Will! Thank you! Glad to be back, and thank you for the kind words.
I will preface this by saying it's difficult to get a good evaluation of players during minicamp because the full pads aren't on nor are they running and tackling at full speed. So, it's really more an evaluation of the mental makeup of guys, and getting a feel from coaches about how far along they are. With that in mind, I think Desmond Ridder's understanding of the scheme is something that impressed me the most.
The fact that Arthur Smith gave him the compliment he did about being lightyears ahead of young quarterbacks from the neck up? Smith isn't one to say that lightly. So, this comment coupled with talking with Ridder about how confident he feels in the scheme was probably the most notable information that I took from minicamp about a singular player.
Submit your questions
I'm gonna need a week's worth of questions from y'all to fill up all of the Bair Mails I will be writing while Scott is away! Don't let me down. Submit them here.
The veterans and rookies were out on the field during Minicamps this week putting in some extra work and interacting with fans before the summer break.
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