Free agency marks the beginning of the new league year and over the next two days NFL teams are allowed to contact players who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents when the new league year begins on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
Here’s what you need to know heading into free agency:
Who’s staying, who’s leaving?
The Falcons placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive tackle Grady Jarrett on March 4th. The tag prevents Jarrett from hitting the market when the new league year begins and gives the Falcons and Jarrett’s representation more time to continue the negotiation process on a long-term deal.
Robert Alford, Brooks Reed were released and the Falcons did not exercise Matt Bryant’s option for the 2019 season. The following players have already been given contract extensions this offseason: Matt Schaub, Bruce Carter, Ty Sambrailo and Steven Means.
The following players are scheduled to become free agents when the new league year begins:
Andy Levitre, G
Ben Garland, G
Derrick Shelby, DE
Justin Bethel, CB
Terrell McClain, DT
Bruce Irvin, DE
Jon Condo, LS
Logan Paulsen, TE
Kemal Ishmael, SS
Jordan Richards, SS
Zane Beadles, G
Tevin Coleman, RB
Justin Hardy, WR
Brian Poole, CB
Marvin Hall, WR
What’s the Falcons approach to free agency?
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has said the priority of the offseason is a long-term deal for Grady Jarrett and a new contract for Julio Jones. The Falcons will certainly be active this offseason but Dimitroff doesn’t believe Atlanta needs to make a “whole bunch of bold moves.”
“We have some re-grouping to do on a number of different areas of course,” Dimitroff said. “I don’t think that necessarily means dropping a ton of money in free agency. I think there’s a draft out there that can be really beneficial to us potentially on both sides of the ball. Front wise you can acquire in the draft as well. We will be very manageable and mindful on how we will be approaching free agency, we’re not just throw money out there for the sake of it.”
The Falcons hold the No. 14 pick in the NFL Draft this year.
What are the team needs?
The biggest needs for the Falcons are in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Atlanta struggled to run the ball and stop the run, finishing with the No. 27th rushing attack and No.25th ranked defense against the run. Matt Ryan was sacked 42 times in 2018 and the Falcons finished No. 22nd in the league in sacks with 37 on the year.
Head coach Dan Quinn has said outside of right tackle and center, every other position on the offensive line is being evaluated.
The Falcons could also look to add depth at the following positions: Running back, cornerback and tight end.