PFF predicts Falcons to land three top-50 free agents

After making the decision to cut Marcus Mariota, the Falcons have positioned themselves to go after basically any player they want in free agency.With $66.7 million available, Atlanta trails only the Chicago Bears in total cap space going into the new league year.

So, what will the Falcons do with their newfound wealth?

Pro Football Focus released a feature predicting where the top 50 players will sign in free agency. PFF’s Brad Spielberger predicts the Falcons to land three of their top-50 free agents.

RT: Kaleb McGary (No. 38)

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McGary has spent his whole career thus far with the Falcons after the team traded back into the first round to draft him in 2018. This was the same year Atlanta drafted Pro Bowl guard Chris Lindstrom. The Falcons declined McGary’s fifth-year option last offseason, but Spielberger thinks they should look to re-sign the 28-year-old right tackle.

If the Falcons wish to franchise tag McGary, it would cost the team $18.24 million. A long-term deal would create a more manageable cap hit in 2023 and beyond.

EDGE: Jadeveon Clowney (No. 31)

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The second player Spielberger projects to Atlanta is former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. The Falcons’ struggles in the pass-rush department have been well documented, so this isn’t a total surprise.

Clowney has never been a player to get you double digit sacks in a season — although he did manage 11 in 2021 with the Browns — he is someone who gets consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Clowney has finished with 30 or more quarterback hurries in five of his NFL seasons. While raw sack numbers aren’t his game, he would undoubtedly elevate the Falcons’ pass rush in 2023.

Safety: Jessie Bates III (No. 4)

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Jessie Bates III could very well be the Falcons’ splash signing this offseason. Adding the veteran safety would likely mean the end of Jaylinn Hawkins’ time as a starter, but Bates is an undeniable upgrade. And since we don’t yet know what kind of looks defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen will prefer, there’s a chance Hawkins could still have a role alongside Bates and Richie Grant.

Bates has already been seen in public hanging out with Falcons players this offseason. The 26-year-old has a market value of $14 million per year, according to Spotrac.

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Story originally appeared on Falcons Wire