Teams can begin to negotiate with upcoming free agents on March 7th, with new contracts officially being allowed to be finalized on March 9th. The Atlanta Falcons of course have some serious needs that need to be taken care of. They have already released long-time safety William Moore as well as linebacker Justin Durant, and they need, more than anything, help rushing the passer (last in the NFL last season), better QB protection and someone else to catch the ball besides Julio Jones. So who might they go after in free agency?
Irvin has been the player probably talked about the most in terms of potentially coming to Atlanta. Irvin has made it known that he would like to play for Falcons head coach Dan Quinn again after playing for him when Quinn was defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. Irvin is averaging 5.5 sacks a season over the first four years of his career (Vic Beasley led the Falcons with four this season). He also is averaging 15 games played over the past two seasons. Irvin is also from Atlanta so that makes him a fit as well. The Falcons are in desperate need of a better pass rush, and Irvin could certainly provide it.
Mack is expected to opt-out of his contract, and he is a three-time Pro Bowler who through his first seven seasons is averaging starting 14.5 games a season, including starting all 16 games in six of the seasons. Mack is durable and is widely-considered to be one of the premier offensive linemen in the NFL, let alone one of the best centers. He is 30 years of age, so as offensive linemen goes, he should still be considered one of the best linemen in football for at the very least a few more years.
There are lots of solid wide receivers that will be on the market this off-season: Jeffrey, Jason Avant, Anquan Boldin, and Darrius Heyward-Bey just to name a few. Through four seasons in the NFL, Jeffrey is averaging six touchdown receptions a season and 63 catches a year. Jeffrey has had some trouble staying on the field with injuries, missing several games his rookie year and nearly half of the 2015 season. When Jeffrey is on the field, however, he has been one of the better receivers in football; averaged 10.5 targets a game in 2015 in the nine games that he was able to play in. He would be a great addition to the Falcons receiver core, and would help give Jones a little more room to work by taking some of the attention away from him.