The Atlanta Falcons have had a busy offseason, with plenty of big-name players joining the organization, and a couple mainstays departing. The 2020 NFL Draft can still make or break the offseason for a lot of teams, but with most of the big moves behind us, we have a pretty good feel for how these teams are going to look next year.
With that in mind, here are the three best moves the Falcons have made this offseason.
3. Signing Todd Gurley
The Falcons brought former Georgia Bulldog Todd Gurley back home, and they did it on a team-friendly deal. There is plenty of reason to be concerned about Gurley's long-term outlook, given his knee issues and decreased production in 2019. Don't read too much into that decline, though, because part of it came from a drop in play from the entire Los Angeles Rams' offense. Gurley actually broke tackles at a higher rate in 2019 (one per 10.6 carries) than in 2018 (one per 15.1 carries). A one-year, $6 million deal means the Falcons can see what he still has left in the tank without setting themselves back if he continues to regress.
2. Releasing Devonta Freeman
On the other side of the coin, Atlanta was also wise to part ways with a different injury-riddled back. Devonta Freeman looked like a shell of his former self in his 2019 return from groin surgery, averaging a career-worst 4.4 yards per touch, including 3.6 yards per carry. That was down from averages of 5.1 and 5.5 yards per touch in his last two healthy seasons. He was set to make $6.5 million in 2020, and signing Gurley is a much better use of that money.
1. Signing Dante Fowler
Salary cap constrictions also had the Falcons let Vic Beasley walk, but they made a great move replacing him with Dante Fowler. Fowler has racked up 27.5 sacks and 43 quarterback hits in his four-year NFL career, and he really broke out in 2019 with the Los Angeles Rams. He set career highs in just about every area last season, with 11.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits, 58 total tackles and 6 passes defended. The 25-year-old looks to be just entering his prime, and a three-year, $48 million deal ensures he'll be in Atlanta for the foreseeable future.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.