The new league year begins in one month and several players on the Falcons' roster are scheduled to become free agents.
The NFL has yet to decide officially on a salary cap number for 2021, and much will depend on whether it gets a new TV deal in place by the start of the new league year, which is March 17. The Falcons, meanwhile, will have to make some tough decisions with their own roster. Until that happens, it's difficult to project them being big spenders in free agency.
One of the reasons general manager Terry Fontenot was such an attractive candidate to the Falcons was the work he did with the Saints in bringing in mid-level free agents who produced. And that's what he'll be tasked with doing in Atlanta this offseason.
That's why Bleacher Report's recent list of the biggest potential bargains in free agency is especially intriguing. The Falcons biggest positional needs at this moment are the following: Defensive end, running back, safety, left guard and cornerback.
Here's a few players on Bleacher Report’s list of potential bargain free agents that could be fits for the Falcons if these players are to hit the market.
Marlon Mack, running back
Falcons owner Arthur Blank said running back is one of the most pressing needs for Atlanta. With Todd Gurley expected to become a free agent, the team is in need of a No. 1 running back. Head coach Arthur Smith's offense is built around a strong run game to complement the passing attack, so expect the Falcons to address this position either in free agency or the NFL Draft.
Mack, 24, suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last year that could play a factor in his overall market value. Prior to his injury, Mack was coming off his best season rushing for 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019 with the Indianapolis Colts.
Tyus Bowser, edge
If there's one area the Falcons need to better in on defense in 2021 under Smith and defensive coordinator Dean Pees, it's the pass rush. The Falcons have struggled to find consistency in their pass rush for the last three seasons. In 2020, Atlanta recorded 29 sacks with linebacker Deion Jones leading the way with 4.5 sacks. Edge help is needed in a big way.
Bowser is a former second-round pick who has recorded only two starts in four years with the Baltimore Ravens. Despite only recording two sacks last season, he recorded a career-high in quarterback hits with 14.
Troy Hill, cornerback
The Falcons upgraded the secondary last season with the acquisition of A.J. Terrell. The rookie was everything the team hoped he could be but that doesn't mean the cornerback position is solidified opposite of him.
The 29-year-old cornerback is coming off his first season as a starter in the NFL. After moving from nickel to the outside, Hill blossomed into one of the Rams' best players in the secondary. Hill recorded three interceptions, 10 passes defensed and 77 tackles last season.
Jayon Brown, linebacker
Brown has spent the last four seasons playing for the Tennessee Titans where Smith and Pees were able to closely evaluate him. Although linebacker isn't one of the most pressing needs for the Falcons at this moment, adding depth and talent to the position would only make the unit stronger.
His familiarity with Pees' defense makes this a pairing that could make a lot of sense. Brown ranks 10th in pass coverage grade since the start of the 2018 season, according to Pro Football Focus. The former fifth-round pick recorded 10 quarterback hits and eight tackles for loss in the 2018 season, his best season to date.