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Which 2023 Falcons defensive free agents are still on the market — plus their possible fate in Atlanta

There are 11 free agents available who were on the Falcons roster last season. Five came from the defense.

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions regarding players and/or potential future players in the article below are those of the editorial staff and are not of the Atlanta Falcons' football personnel unless noted in a direct quote.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The rush of the 2024 NFL free agency has severely calmed down since the new league year began more than two weeks ago, and yet many names are still out there for the taking, including a handful familiar to the Atlanta Falcons.

There are 11 free agents on the market who were on the Falcons roster last season. This means they could remain in Atlanta or land somewhere else. There's no hard deadline for that decision to be made.

It's important to be realistic, though. At this point, the Falcons do not have much cap space to play with in free agency. According to on April 1, Atlanta has $6.3 million in cap space. Per OTC's rookie pool, Atlanta is projected to need about $12.2 million to sign the incoming draft class. So, really, the Falcons need to do some cap maneuvering before late April. After that, it's fair game with spare change.

Regardless, because of their Atlanta tie, it's still not a bad idea to keep tabs on former Falcons. On Tuesday, the five defensive players will be looked at. The six offensive players were addressed Monday.

Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Bud Dupree #48 during the Week 14 Game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, December 10, 2023. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

2023 stats: 17 games (17 starts) | 56 total tackles (10 for loss) | 6.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hits | One pass breakup, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery

Overall experience: 37 years old | Second-round draft pick in 2008 (ARI) | 16 active seasons (2008-23; ARI, JAX, BAL, ATL)

Quick analysis: Campbell is a legend, having broken the 100-sack mark in 2023 to ink his name in the NFL record book. He was debating retirement at the end of last season, though, so a return in 2024 is TBD. Former Falcons defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, which may be the more attractive option to Campbell since he has a deeper history there. At the same time, current Falcons head coach Raheem Morris has said he did have a conversation with Campbell where Morris painted a picture of Campbell's future in Atlanta. The Falcons do need help on the edge, especially given the next player listed.

2023 stats: 16 games (16 starts) | 39 total tackles (Eight for loss) | 6.5 sacks, eight quarterback hits | Three pass breakups, two forced fumbles

Overall experience: 31 years old | First-round draft pick in 2015 (PIT) | Nine active seasons (2015-23; PIT, TEN, ATL)

Quick analysis: Dupree and Campbell led the Falcons last season with 6.5 sacks apiece. Together, they set the edge. And now, neither's return is guaranteed. So, one or both would be smart to lock back in. Dupree is obviously younger with more playing days ahead of him, so he could be a fix with a longer shelf life than Campbell. But he also has an impressive past of his own where he could – and should – mentor younger defenders. Originally, Dupree was on a one-year deal with the Falcons. He proved his worth in that one year alone.

2023 stats: 17 games (Three starts) | 21 total tackles (One for loss) | Two pass breakups

Overall experience: 28 years old | Fifth-round draft pick in 2018. (SEA) | Six active seasons (2018-23; SEA, CIN, ATL)

Quick analysis: The Falcons already have a starting cornerback in A.J. Terrell, but he needs a consistent counterpart, which wasn't the case in 2023, or in the years prior. That secondary spot belonged to Jeff Okudah (now with the Houston Texans) and then went to Clark Phillips III. Flowers played in a backup role. If he were to remain in Atlanta, that is likely the role he would continue to play. 

2023 stats: Two games | Two total tackles

Overall experience: 27 years old | Undrafted in 2020 | Four active seasons (2020-23; LAC, ATL)

Quick analysis: Gaziano has been a practice squad guy for most of his career so far. The most action he has seen in a single season came in 2021 when he played in 14 games and made one start for the Los Angeles Chargers. He took 22% of the offensive snaps and made 13 total tackles and a pass breakup during that time. Gaziano could be a reliable backup option again for the Falcons.

2023 stats: 13 games (Five starts) | 22 total tackles (Two quarterback hits) | One fumble recovery

Overall experience: 26 years old | Undrafted in 2019 | Four active seasons (2019-23; PHI, DET, NOR, ATL)

Quick analysis: First off, if Huggins continues on his ongoing trend, he's not going to be with the Falcons in 2024. He has been with a different team each year of his career. Surely, he'd like consistency, though, which makes Atlanta more appealing. The Falcons also gave Huggins his biggest opportunity in 2023, with a career-high 13 game appearances and five starts. He played 37% of the defensive snaps. Huggins offers the Falcons depth along the line – never a bad thing, considering the injury risk that comes with the position.

Those who have been signed back for the defense: ILB Nate Landman and DE Kentavius Street.

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