About to embark on their third season together, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn have been very clear in stating their plans for the upcoming offseason: Retain as many of their current players that have expiring contracts as possible.
Unlike heading into the 2016 offseason, the Falcons feel they have no glaring holes on their roster, the main reason to why keeping the talent they have in place is the No. 1 priority.
"Every year, we've been pretty aggressive in free agency, and we think this year our focus is going to be on signing a number of players on our team who are up," Dimitroff said following Super Bowl LI. "That's going to be the main focus."
And they are well on their way.
Atlanta signed Ryan Schraeder and Robert Alford – two players who were slated to hit the open market this offseason – to new deals during the regular season, ensuring their spot as a Falcon for years to come.
Tight end Levine Toilolo and safety Kemal Ishamel are among the players that Atlanta is hoping to lock up, Dimitroff announced on Wednesday.
Both players proved to be valuable depth players for the Falcons often showing their versatility, a trait Quinn and Dimitroff have high regard for.
Toilolo is highly praised for his blocking ability, while this year the 2013 fourth-round pick proved to be a factor in Atlanta's passing attack, catching 13 passes last season for 264 yards and two touchdowns.
Ishmael, one of Atlanta's best tacklers, showed he can be an asset to the Falcons not only as a safety, but as a linebacker as well. The defensive back played in 13 games in 2016, starting four of them.
Veterans Jonathan Babineaux (35) and Jacob Tamme (31) are two Falcons likely to hit the market, according to Dimitroff.
"Babs is one of the guys who is going to get to free agency," Dimitroff said. "It will be good for him to see what's out there. Babs has done a great job for us over the years. He's been such a good leader for us. Jacob more than likely will get to free agency. He'll have some decisions to make as well as we'll have decisions to make on that."
Tamme, Atlanta's No. 1 tight end prior to injuring his shoulder and being placed on IR, proved to be one of quarterback Matt Ryan's favorite targets. He caught 59 passes in 2015 and 22 in eight games in 2016.
With the start of the new league year just a week away, Quinn and Dimitroff are approaching the next two months with a renowned sense of optimism, knowing they've built a team they believe is on the rise.
"We have a terrific group of guys and a number of them we are going to hopefully be able to bring back," Quinn said. "I'm so encouraged by where we are heading."