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Bair Mail: On Myles Murphy vs. Bryan Bresee, a free-agent plan to address every pressing need and Marcus Mariota's future

I step in for Terry Fontenot and come up with a way to upgrade every major roster issue without breaking the bank

We're in a slower period of the NFL offseason, and it's clear from the mailbag responses that Falcons fans are ready for some action. There will be plenty of it once free agency starts, and as important of a roster construction period as there might ever be in the Terry Fontenot/Arthur Smith era.


Why? After two years shedding bad contracts, the Falcons finally have salary-cap flexibility to go along with nine NFL draft picks. There's a real opportunity here to upgrade the roster around an expanding young foundation. But not quite yet. We have a few weeks remaining before the Falcons can start inking free agents.

In the interim, we'll dive into what the Falcons could do, with this Monday Bair Mail. That includes my plan to address every pressing need in free agency.

Also, we've only got three questions today because the second one is soooo long.


Fenn Davis from Andover, N.H.

Hey Scott, I've been looking over a lot of mock drafts for the Falcons and I really like Bryan Bresee the DT from Clemson. But I haven't seen a single mock draft project him to us besides maybe one time. I don't know the new DC's plan with how many down lineman he uses, but do you think Bresee would be someone the Falcons would be interested in. But anyway what are your thought on drafting Bryan over a guy like Myles Murphy, or even someone like Peter Skoronski or Paris Johnson Jr.

Bair: I like this question, Fenn, because it prompted to do some research on Clemson interior lineman Bryan Bresee. What an intriguing talent at an area of pressing need. At No. 8, though? Not sure about that one, but maybe. There are some differing opinions on Bresee, who has dealt with some injuries. Talented guy and could be an option in a trade-down in the first round. He has all the tools you want in a disruptive interior lineman, but draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah says he's a bit too inconsistent.

I think Myles Murphy is still above him. I also see several have the Falcons going with one of the offensive linemen you mentioned. If Kaleb McGary bolts in free agency, then that becomes a realistic option. If not, I'm not so sure.

Anthony White from Murfesboro, Tenn./Augusta, Ga.

Hello Scott! If you were the GM (and I think you and the crew would be great in the front office), what would be your ideal FA wish list at each big need position for this offseason??? Thanks very much!

Bair: Appreciate the kind words, Anthony. Unlike some other places, compliments will get you everywhere in this mailbag. Ha. I kid, I kid. Sorta. Now on to your question, which I really like.

I'll take the top four needs with a brief reason why they're the guy. As you'll note below, I'm trying to address every need so I'm not breaking the bank one individual:

DE: Marcus Davenport, Saints

  • I'm super interested to see how Davenport's market develops. He may price himself out of my address-every-need plan, but he creates tons of pressure and I think Ryan Nielsen will continue to develop him and help him finish.

DT: David Onyemata, Saints

  • There are bigger fish out there, but I think Onyemata could be an affordable solution who could make a big impact working with Grady Jarrett. Spotrac estimates his value at roughly $9.6 million per year, which seems reasonable for a relative safe bet who has great familiarity with Ryan Nielsen and could help teach his system.

CB: Patrick Peterson, Vikings

  • I know he's an older guy, but the Falcons secondary needs some swagger, some experience to lead a relatively young bunch. Peterson can bring that and some steady production. You might be able to get him at a decent rate on a shorter-term deal.

WR: Allen Lazard, Packers

  • I've made it clear how much I covet JuJu Smith-Schuster, but I don't think he's leaving Kansas City and I think he earned a bunch of money with a solid 2022. I'm going with Lazard here, who could come cheaper, is only 27 and has all the traits you want in an explosive receiver.

Ron Rogers from Asheville, N.C.

Can you clear up the Mariota issue, such as why he just disappeared after being benched, was said to no longer be on the team, he may need surgery, etc. All very confusing. for those of us not on the inside. Is he a Falcon still? Will we move or release him? Will he retire?

Bair: Here's the Marcus Mariota timeline from when Desmond Ridder was promoted for merit-based reasons. Mariota was moved to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart and then told the team he needed to get his knee repaired and ended up having surgery. He was moved to injured reserve and the Falcons added Logan Woodside as a backup. He was away from the team for the rest of the season while rehabbing.

He remains under contract through the 2023 season, but the Falcons can save $12 million in salary cap space by releasing him. That move is expected, it's fair to speculate, at some point before the start of the league year. That will give the Falcons an opportunity to use those funds to upgrade the roster overall. Atlanta will need a backup quarterback at the very least to pair with Desmond Ridder.

Call for questions

We got tons of questions from Friday's mailbag. Let's keep them coming. Submit yours right here for possible inclusion in Wednesday's mailbag, which Ashton is writing.

Join us as we take a look back at our favorite photos of our home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, during the 2022 Atlanta Falcons season.

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