Falcons exercise fifth-year option on one 2019 NFL Draft pick, decline the other

Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary were drafted together, but one will stay in Atlanta a year longer than the other.  

Atlanta Falcons offensive guard Chris Lindstrom #63 and offensive tackle Kaleb McGary #76 warm up before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, January 9, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

The Falcons have exercised Chris Lindstrom's fifth-year option while declining Kaleb McGary's, the organization announced on Monday.

The two offensive linemen were drafted together in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Falcons took Lindstrom with the No. 14 overall pick that year, and gave up their second- (45) and third-round (79) pick in order to move back up into the first round to select McGary with the No. 31 overall pick.

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Both worked to overcome a few obstacles in their rookie year. McGary missed majority of his first training camp as he underwent a cardiac ablation on July 31 of that year, which is a procedure used to correct a heart rhythm issue. After splitting time with Ty Sambrailo in Week 1, McGary would go on to start the remaining 16 games at right tackle. Meanwhile, Lindstrom participated in the 2019 training camp's entirety and was named the Week 1 starter at right guard. However, Lindstrom suffered a broken foot in said game and was placed on injured reserve shortly after. He was not activated until December, but started the final five games of his rookie season.

Through the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Lindstrom and McGary had a much cleaner bill of health. Lindstrom started every game at right guard the last two years. In 2020, he graded out to have a 77.1 overall PFF grade. Last season, that grade jumped to 83.7 overall. Lindstrom allowed zero sacks in 2021 after giving up four the year before. He was the only guard to appear in all 17 games in 2021 and not allow a single sack.

As for McGary, he made 29 starts through the last two seasons. In 2020, he had an overall PFF grade of 64.3. Four sacks were attributed to him. His grade dropped to 62.8 in 2021, and he allowed five more sacks than he did the year before, bringing that number to nine total sacks allowed last season, according to PFF.

With the fifth-year option, Lindstrom will be with the Falcons until at least the 2024 offseason. McGary will be a free agent after the upcoming 2022 season.


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