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ESPN analyst names potential DE targets for Falcons in free agency

INDIANAPOLIS – When free agency begins on March 18, don't expect the Falcons to spend an obscene amount of money on one player.

Atlanta will likely be adding players of value in the areas it feels are needed.


General manager Thomas Dimitroff has said he's not worried about Atlanta's cap situation, and that they will get creative in finding ways to acquire players.

"Thomas is right in the sense you can find cap if you need to make it," ESPN analyst Field Yates said. "You can certainly maneuver some space if need be."

The Falcons have a number of players on significant long-term deals that take up the majority of the cap. And Atlanta's biggest positional need happens to be at a position that often requires lucrative deals to be made in exchange for production.

So, when the Falcons approach free agency, they'll likely not be in a place to shop for the top pass-rushers in the market. They will however likely be in the market for one who would be viewed as a value-type player.

"You're probably looking value as opposed to someone like Jadeveon Clowney, if he hits the open market," Yates said. "Obviously he's most likely going to; there probably isn't much of a chance to be playing for his services. Pass rushers are going to get paid."

Yates offered two names the Falcons could potentially target as free agency nears: Mario Addison and Markus Golden.

"Mario Addison has four straight years of eight-plus sacks in his early 30s, he's an example of someone worth keeping an eye on," Yates said.

Addison, 32, will be heading into his 12th season in the NFL. He spent eight years with the Carolina Panthers and recorded 55 sacks.

Golden, who Yates cites as a "productive player" but not overly "dominant" could be another option. The 28-year-old is heading into his seventh season in the league and most recently spent time with the New York Giants where he tallied 10 sacks. Prior to his brief stint in New York, he played four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and recorded 19 sacks.

"He might be someone who might make sense," Yates said.

Who the Falcons will add to their roster during free agency remains undetermined at this time, but Yates has a good feeling it will include a few defensive players.

"The wish would be a pass-rusher, I would think the defense will be emphasis this year," Yates said.

Here is a look at all players set to enter free agency when the new league year begins on March 18. Restricted free agents and exclusive rights free agents are noted in the captions.

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