The Falcons have a free roster spot. They'll likely fill it before training camp or shortly after, adding another talent to the mix to make the final 53.
Defensive end/edge rusher seems a likely addition considering the position group lost one after midnight Sunday when Barkevious Mingo was cut. Keeping the position group's numbers and competition high seems logical, especially for a crew that needs to bring more heat in waves.
There's quality still sitting on the open market considering our current point in the calendar, though there's generally a reason why someone's still unemployed in July. There are some options should general manager Terry Fontenot choose to replace one edge presence with another.
Let's take a closer look at some players to consider.
Financing always plays a part in these searches, so we can't ignore it here. According to Wednesday’s NFLPA public salary cap report, the Falcons have $7.66 million in space. Let's consider that a ballpark figure, considering possible complicating factors could impact the number.
The Falcons need some wiggle room to pay for in-season additions with others inevitably ending up on injured reserve, so they can't spend every last dime in one place.
That means Justin Houston might make football sense but maybe not in other ways. The position's best available talent is likely waiting for a certain sum/golden opportunity to arrive. He would be a significant upgrade off the edge and bring leadership to the position group considering his long track record of effective play.
The Falcons would have to make sure Olivier Vernon (Achilles') and Melvin Ingram (knee) are physically right at this stage, a real question mark for Vernon especially considering how late in last season he got hurt. If they are, landing either player would be a real coup.
Markets might depress once we get into camp a bit, and the Falcons may be able to add a quality veteran at a value price. Time will tell on that front.
Trent Murphy has had some decent pressure numbers in the past but might be holding out for an ideal spot and price range like Houston. He's still a solid option for the Falcons despite a subpar 2020.
They could bring Adrian Clayborn back for a third stint, though at 33 years old he doesn't offer a longer-term solution for a team looking to get younger and more dynamic. He would add to the rotation and his experience could prove helpful.
Alex Okafor seems like a good solution could provide some juice off the edge as part of a rotation, also bringing some veteran savvy and experience with a winning Kansas City Chiefs team regularly playing big games.
The Falcons could go in a different positional direction, adding depth to the offensive line or the defensive backfield. Or they could sit on the extra spot a while to avoid cutting someone before they have a chance to perform in camp. Staying at 89 isn't a huge deal, without a major rush to fill the spot with most of the NFL on vacation.
The Falcons could also simply add another undrafted, unsigned player scouted in the previous college season, someone they believe has potential is developed properly.
Again, edge rusher seems like a spot to fortify and adding a veteran talent, even an older one, could help the 2021 product without taking young talent off the roster.