The Atlanta Falcons will have a new Week 1 starting quarterback for the third consecutive season. But who will be that passer?
That remains to be seen, as the expectation is the Falcons will select one early in the 2023 NFL Draft despite spending a third-round pick on Desmond Ridder last year. But what do the Falcons need to accomplish in free agency before they get to the draft?
NFL free agency starts at 4 p.m. March 15. The legal negotiating period begins at noon March 13.
BetGeorgia.com — your best source for Georgia sports betting — is focusing on the Falcons heading into free agency. We also point out successes and failures for previous Atlanta free agents as well as check the 2023 odds for the team.
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Areas Where Falcons Can Improve
The good news is the Falcons can be super aggressive in free agency with more than $66 million in cap space. And with no money being paid at the quarterback position, this is the time to spend to build up the rest of the roster. Their biggest free agent is right tackle Kaleb McGary, who had a breakout season in 2022. He’s widely regarded as one of the best run-blocking offensive tackles in the league, so the Falcons would be wise to lock him up as soon as possible.
But outside of McGary, there are no other pending free agents on the roster who need to return. That means the Falcons can use most of their cap space to bring in outside talent. But what positions should they attack? The obvious answer is quarterback, but it doesn’t appear the Falcons are interested in signing Lamar Jackson or any other quarterback. So, if it’s not quarterback, look for the Falcons to spend a ton on their defense.
The best pure pass rusher on the market is Yannick Ngakoue, but he has bounced from team to team over the last few years due to his inability to stop the run. Still, the Falcons need a lot of pass-rush help and he could provide it at a fairly reasonable price. Atlanta also could use some more interior defensive line help, so they could be in the market for someone like Dalvin Tomlinson, one of the league's top-run defenders.
Cornerback is a position Atlanta will certainly target as it needs someone to pair with A.J. Terrell for the next few years. Jamel Dean is the top cornerback on the market and it would be wise for the Falcons to steal him away from their division rival, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dean will get paid around $17 million per year this offseason, but the Falcons can afford it and he would be a fantastic fit next to Terrell.
Safety is another position the Falcons could look at in free agency and arguably the top safety on the market is Jessie Bates. While he might not be a top-five safety in the NFL, he's been a consistent playmaker for the Bengals and would be a massive upgrade from what they've had over the last few years. Don't rule out Chauncey Gardner-Johnson either, as he could be the slot-safety hybrid that this defense has been missing for the previous few seasons.
Look for Atlanta to be highly aggressive in free agency as the team tries to improve the No. 24 ranked defense from a year ago. With a few big-time additions like Dean, Tomlinson, or Ngakoue, this defense could be dramatically better in 2023. The Falcons could be big-time spenders over the next several weeks.
Falcons and Free Agency
BetGeorgia.com looks at some recent free agent moves by the Atlanta Falcons.
Free Agent Hits
Free Agent Misses
What Do Oddsmakers Expect from 2023 Falcons?
Sportsbooks don’t see a breakout season for the Falcons at this juncture.
There are no legal Georgia sports betting apps, but nationally DraftKings has Atlanta as a huge +7500 longshot to win the Super Bowl. That ranks tied at 26th (with the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders) among the 32 teams in the NFL.
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