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Falcons have one hell of a curve to throw us in the n

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If the Falcons remain tight on cash Black Ryan Schraeder Jersey , these options could prove to be smart signings."Unless the ear-term, they’re mostly going to sign free agents after the initial frenzy of signings have died down. That means we must retire our dreams of signing some of the biggest names on the market in favor of (hopefully) quality players who don’t exactly excite the fanbase, which will hopefully work out well and not hamstring this team financially.One of the positions where they may sniff around is defensive tackle. That may seem odd—Grady Jarrett is under contract, Jack Crawford was a very useful player in 2018, and Deadrin Senat has a ton of promise—but bear in mind that they went out of their way to sign and use Terrell McClain last year, and that Jarrett’s current long-term uncertainty and Crawford’s impending free agency makes a signing a real possibility. That may be true even if the Falcons intend to invest a top pick at the position, but assuming their interest in edge rushers like Brian Burns and tackles like Cody Ford is legit, they may just focus on free agency. If that’s the case, we need to look beyond the biggest names in this class and toward some mid-tier options who could be immediate parts of the rotation and contribute, especially against the run. In service of that, I’ve compiled a list of options who may be fits contractually and with what the Falcons are looking for, and we’ll take a look at other positions in the days ahead.Defensive tackle optionsRodney Gunter, 27, ArizonaDarius Philon, 25, San Diego Caraun Reid, 27 Ryan Schraeder Jersey 2019 , Detroit Tyeler Davison, 26, New OrleansKerry Wynn, 28, New York GiantsChristian Covington, 25, HoustonThe names on this list run from reasonably expensive to potentially quite cheap, and all of them are under 30 with some history of production. Gunter figures to be the most expensive after a year where he was strong against the run and amassed five sacks, and there are already rumors that teams like Miami are sniffing around him. If the Falcons could free up the money Gunter would be a killer signing who could push Crawford to more of a complementary role, but his production makes the possibility of doing so for cheap enough seem unlikely.Philon’s next on the wish list as he’s young, capable (4+ sacks in each of the last two seasons), and has played in all 16 games in both 2017 and 2018. The Chargers should want to re-sign him, but if he makes it to the market he’s unlikely to break the bank and quite likely to be useful for Atlanta. A multi-year deal for Philon would, if they can also get Jarrett signed to a long-term deal, give the Falcons three very good DTs under the age of 27, which would go a long way toward keeping this defensive line solvent while they rebuild at DE. From there, your mid-market options are less exciting but still interesting. Reid is a player I was hoping the Falcons would prioritize back in 2014 Black Julio Jones Jersey , and now there’s an opportunity for the Falcons to make that fix by bringing the reliable run stopper over. Reid’s been a part-time player for each of the last three seasons, but he consistently grades well when he does play.Davison has played in all but three games over the last four seasons in New Orleans and has been a versatile run defender the entire time, starting a combined 48 games as a defensive end and defensive tackle and helping an improving New Orelans defense put the brakes on other backs. He only has 3.5 career sacks and isn’t a compelling pass rusher, but he’d be an upgrade on Terrell McClain, is young enough to still have some upside, and shouldn’t be overly expensive despite his starting experience.Wynn has played both defensive end and defensive tackle and has been an asset against the run at both spots for the Giants, grading out especially well in the early going in 2018. That positional versatility and his ability to get after the quarterback when the stars are properly aligned would make him a solid signing who (you’re sensing a theme here) would represent an upgrade on McClain. Finally, Covington is a capable, young run defender who is coming off a terrific year. The market is actually pretty good at defensive tackle, so there’s a decent chance Covington doesn’t luck into a monster deal. Like Philon and to a lesser extent Davison, he’d be an immediate upgrade on what McClain offered last year with an opportunity to be a genuine starter down the line. That’s not an exhaustive list, but don’t be surprised if the Falcons do wind up coming away with one of these guys in the coming weeks. Who would you add to it? The Mud Duck-to-Mack handoff did not go smoothly." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesHorizontal - WhiteThe Falcoholican Atlanta Falcons communityLog In or Sign UpLog InSign UpFanpostsFanshotsLibraryFalconsOddsAboutMastheadCommunity GuidelinesStubHubMoreAll 322 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteFanposts Fanshots Library FalcFans Podcast on The FalcoholicContact The FalcoholicFalcons StoriesScheduleRosterStatsYahoo Falcons NewsYahoo Falcons Team PageYahoo Falcons ReportYahoo Falcons Depth ChartYahoo Falcons TransactionsYahoo Falcons PhotosOdds About Masthead Community Guidelines StubHub ✕The evolution of the Falcons OC position, 2008-2018New,15commentsThe Mud Duck-to-Mack handoff did not go smoothly. EDTShareTweetShareShareThe evolution of the Falcons OC position, 2008-2018Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesWhere do franchises fall down? The truly dysfunctional ones do so in all sorts of hilarious, creative ways, but for decent-to-great ones Julio Jones Jersey 2019 , transitions tend to be the killer. Think the Dolphins post-Marino or the Bills post-Kelly, as two teams fumbled their search for successors to legendary quarterbacks and quickly became irrelevant as a result. Or think of teams with too much hubris who think rock solid veterans are easily replaced by their genius drafts, only to watch those guys flame out. The Falcons have fallen into that latter camp a few times in the last decade-plus, and center is one of the most relevant examples of just that.As we’ll see in the chart below, the Falcons had a 13 year starter at center who was still playing at a high level at the age of 35 coming out of the 2012 season. The team not-so-cannily decided that after nearly making it to the Super Bowl, it was time to clear out veterans and remake the team a bit to push for their next big run. They forced out Michael Turner (replacing him with Steven Jackson), John Abraham (replacing him with Osi Umenyiora), and Todd McClure (replacing him with Peter Konz). All three of those moves were bad, but the one to move on from McClure stands out for how badly it impacted the team over the next three seasons, even though the Falcons had a second round pick waiting in the wings and almost accidentally unearthed a solid undrafted free agent option at the position. Transitions are rarely easy, but the Falcons have had a habit of making them look even more difficult at the worst possible time. Let’s take a closer look. Falcons OCsYearC1C2C3YearC1C2C3As you’ll see above, the last decade-plus of Falcons football at the center position can be split into three eras. The first was the much celebrated Mud Duck era, with Todd McClure continuing a career that began all the way back in 2000 and riding it through the 2012 season, when the Falcons unceremoniously cut ties with him in one of the more clear cut mistakes under the current regime. McClure’s 2012 was a healthy, quality season in a long line of them, which helped cement his place as either the best or second best center in team history (I lean toward Jeff Van Note). McClure retired rather than play for anyone else, but his play hadn’t dropped off and the Falcons would enter a new and troubling era as the result of that particular blunder.That era was defined by a revolving door at center. Peter Konz was supposed to be McClure’s heir apparent and the team moved on from McClure with that expectation Black Devonta Freeman Jersey , but Konz followed up a solid 2012 at guard with a very shaky campaign at center, and the Falcons decided pretty quickly he wasn’t the guy. It’s easy to forget now that Konz was absolutely regarded by just about everyone in the 2012 NFL Draft as the best center prospect available, but that class was largely a disaster and Konz unfortunately didn’t pan out.From Konz, the team ended up going with former Falcoholic favorite and undrafted free agent James Stone, who started nine games in 2014 and fared well enough at age 22 that I thought he might legitimately be in play for the job in 2015. With the changeover in coaching staffs, however, Stone was relegated to a backup role and wound up only starting one game. He was replaced by the immortal Mike Person, who was a solid if unspectacular blocker but an unmitigated disaster as a center thanks to four fumbled or lousy snaps during that largely forgettable 2015 campaign. Person only spent a single year in Atlanta but reinvented himself under Kyle Shanahan last year as the team’s starting right guard, where his blocking was quality and he didn’t have to snap the football.The Falcons had a plan coming out of the McClure era, but transitions are difficult and they botched this one repeatedly. Stone was probably the most worthy starter of the group and the Falcons didn’t even give him a shot beyond 2014, perhaps rightly reasoning that he wouldn’t be the kind of dependable, above average starter they would need over the long haul. After three years of largely subpar center play, then, the Falcons launched the third era.That was the signing of Alex Mack, a worthy successor to Mud Duck if there ever was one. Mack is a Hall of Fame-caliber center who washed out of Cleveland because of...reasons? That worked out beautifully for the Falcons, who signed Mack to a monster deal in 2016 and haven’t regretted a dollar of it thus far, with Mack turning in three quality Devonta Freeman Jersey 2019 , durable seasons as the team’s pivot. Mack’s getting a bit older and you do have to wonder what the last two years of his deal will look like in Atlanta, but he should continue to age pretty gracefully and there’s little doubt that the Falcons are not going to the Super Bowl in 2016 with Konz, Stone or Person at center. What will the next era look like? The hope would be that Mack can at least play out his contract, if not return for a couple more years of high level play, and that would keep us from really having to address the question until 2021 or so. As you can see from the depth charts above, the team has largely punted on having a true backup center these last three years, trusting that Mack would be healthy and (fortunately) not regretting doing so. They’ll need to start thinking of their succession plan here soon enough, so you should expect to see an early-to-mid round selection at center in the coming years, unless Sean Harlow magically turns into the long-term option we’ve been waiting for.Overall, though, the center position has been a strength over the time period we’re examining, with yet another reminder of how difficult it can be to transition when a franchise great leaves or is forced out. The Falcons would do well to remember that when it’s time for Alex Mack to retire.

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