During last year's free agency, the Falcons were able to add some free agents on team-friendly contracts by identifying players who fit Atlanta's new mold. O'Brien Schofield, Chris Chester, Philip Wheeler and Phillip Adams—all signed to one-year, cost-efficient pacts, helped Atlanta improve by two wins from 2014.
The Falcons will take a similar approach this month when the new free agency period begins. While a gigantic, long-term deal may not be made, fans can expect Atlanta to target options who can excel in the systems in place.
"Honestly, the best way I can do it is when I look at the players and try to see, 'How can this player fit on our team the best?' " Dan Quinn said in December. "So I try to look at the guys and I say, whether it's an offensive player or a defensive player, this is how he would fit on our team right now and this is how we'd try to use him … That's kind of the best part for me is how will he fit on our team currently.
This round of free agency will be easier for Quinn than the last, who had a little more than a month to prepare for the start of the new league year after coaching in Super Bowl 49.
"I now have the luxury, after a whole year, of knowing exactly where we stand on our team where you can imagine last year going in I didn't," he said. "You have a sense of what you think might be and then now after going through it, man I can't wait to get rolling because I have such a clear vision to help Thomas."
That vision, developed over time by Quinn, his staff and Thomas Dimitroff, will become more clear in the next few weeks. The Falcons have a lot of cap space, and with some important openings in the depth chart—especially linebacker, safety and both lines—Atlanta is in a good spot to make some key acquisitions.
"That's always like been our support together where (Dimitroff) knows where and how, and I can tell him, 'On our team this is how he's going to play, this is how we'll feature him, and this is how we'll use him,'" Quinn said. "It's a partnership that works out great for us knowing how he would play on the team based in the scheme."