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Falcons free agents, Part I: Who from the 2023 offensive unit should return to Atlanta in 2024?

Eighteen players from the 2023 Falcons roster are bound for free agency come next week. Who from the offensive side of the ball should the Falcons consider re-signing?

DISCLAIMER: The statements and opinions regarding players and/or potential future players in the article below are those of the editorial staff and are not of the Atlanta Falcons' football personnel unless noted in a direct quote.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons don't need to make free agency difficult by immediately searching far and wide for new players. They could simply look within at the options available from last season's roster. Because, as of Thursday, 18 players are market bound when the NFL officially commences 2024 next Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

This is not to say that's the only pool the Falcons should pull from. Outsiders definitely should be considered. But it's a start.

Below are three impending free agents who spent the 2023 season in Atlanta and would be beneficial for the Falcons to re-sign in 2024. This breakdown specifically focuses on offensive weapons. The article exploring the defensive free agents will go live Friday.

It is of the utmost importance the Falcons restock their wide receiver room. As it stands, only Drake London is locked in for next season, still in the midst of his rookie contract. Everyone else who was rostered last year, including Scotty Miller here, is about to hit the market at the start of the new league year.

Miller, who was a sixth-round draft pick in 2019, tends to be overlooked because of his size: 5-foot-9 and 174 pounds. But what's special about Miller is his speed. London already has the height and weight handled, standing at 6-foot-4 and 213 pounds for contested catches, so the Falcons need someone who can stretch the field. That could be Miller.

"He's quick, he's athletic and he can run," general manager Terry Fontenot said when the Falcons signed Miller in 2023. "He has shown the ability to make plays."

In 2023, Miller caught 11 of his 16 targets for 161 yards and two touchdowns. His end-zone visits came from 2 and 8 yards out, but his deepest shot was a career-long 56-yarder against the New Orleans Saints in Week 18. It was the longest reception by a Falcons wide receiver in 2023, and tied for fourth longest overall on the team last season.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Scotty Miller #16 reacts after a first down catch during the first quarter of the Week 18 Game against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday, January 7, 2024. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Because it is so important the Falcons fill voids on their depth chart at wide receiver, Mack Hollins is another name that may be beneficial to slide back into 2024 mix. Hollins had the second-most yards in Atlanta's passing game among his position group last season. He finished with 18 receptions on 30 targets for 251 yards.

Likely the most memorable moment of Hollins' debut year in Atlanta was the reverse flea-flicker play in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers that resulted in a personal season-long 45-yard grab. It wasn't a touchdown, but the sole touchdown Hollins scored was ultimately reversed in that same game.

Hollins has a similar build to London, too, at 6-foot-4 and 221 pounds. Hollins joined the league in 2017 as a fourth-round draft pick, but his peak performance is more recent than dated. In 2022, his sole season with the Las Vegas Raiders, he had a career-high 690 yards, four touchdowns and 57 receptions on 94 targets. Perhaps with a new quarterback, which the Falcons will more than likely have in 2024, Hollins can tap back into that potential.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mack Hollins #18 runs down field during the fourth quarter of the Week 17 Game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois on Sunday, December 31, 2023. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Unlike the two players already discussed, tight end MyCole Pruitt has spent more than one season with the Falcons. He was originally signed in 2022, thanks to his tie with former Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, who worked with Pruitt previously with the Tennessee Titans. Even though Smith is gone, Pruitt should stick around.

The 2015 fifth-round draft pick appeared in 17 games last season, making eight starts. He caught nine of his 12 targets for 110 yards and a 20-yard touchdown.

Pruitt is stockier than Kyle Pitts, who is the Falcons' go-to man among tight ends in the pass game and still on his rookie contract. Pruitt is 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, while Pitts is 6-foot-6 and 246 pounds. They could be utilized in different ways – and already were, considering Pitts had 53 receptions on 90 targets for 667 yards and three touchdowns. Besides, the Falcons already released tight end Jonnu Smith, so there's an opening for Pruitt to return. And their new position coach, Kevin Koger, has already spoken highly of Pruitt.

"MyCole, he does a great job at the line of scrimmage," Koger said Feb. 15. "At the point of attack, he's strong. He's a veteran, he knows who he is. He knows how to play the game of football, he's knowledgeable."

Atlanta Falcons tight end MyCole Pruitt #85 warms up prior to the Week 15 Game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday, December 17, 2023. (Photo by Jay Bendlin/Atlanta Falcons)

Already re-signed: Inside linebacker Nate Landman (March 6), offensive lineman Ryan Neuzil (March 4) and long snapper Liam McCullough (Feb. 23).

Remaining free agents: Quarterback Logan Woodside, wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge, offensive lineman Matt Hennessy, fullback Keith Smith, wide receiver Van Jefferson, running back Cordarrelle Patterson, quarterback Feleipe Franks, offensive lineman Ethan Greenidge, cornerback Jeff Okudah, defensive end Calais Campbell, outside linebacker Bud Dupree, defensive end Kentavius Street, cornerback Tre Flowers, defensive end Joe Gaziano and defensive tackle Albert Huggins.

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