Atlanta Falcons officially start rebuilding process

Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Entering the 2022 offseason, many Atlanta Falcons fans, including myself, were wondering just how the Falcons would play their cards. The cap space was almost nonexistent, ranking 25th in the league in total cap space entering the offseason. Another issue was that the Falcons, despite having such low cap space, had no real superstars on the team. Rookie Kyle Pitts was an outstanding addition to the offense. He became just the second tight end in NFL history to finish his rookie year with at least 1,000 yards. 

Perhaps the biggest question though was if the Falcons would bring back running back Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson revitalized his career in Atlanta, getting his first opportunity as a starting running back in his career. Patterson would eclipse 500 yards in both rushing and receiving yards. Many fans went into the offseason wondering if the Falcons would renew his contract. We all breathed a sigh of relief when the team resigned him to a two-year 10.5-million-dollar contract to stay in Atlanta.  

Then the Calvin Ridley news broke. After a season of woes for Ridley, which seen him depart after week 5 for what he described as mental reasons for an undisclosed amount of time, which turned out to be the rest of the season, it came out that Ridley had placed bets on Atlanta Falcons games. The league would suspend Ridley for the upcoming 2022 season, leaving a huge hole in the Falcons receiving core.  

Then something happened that shocked some fans while others rejoiced: they traded longtime quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts. This decision told me that the Falcons had begun the rebuilding process. They would take on the biggest dead cap hit in NFL history from Ryan’s contract: 40.5 million dollars. 

Entering the NFL Draft, there were simply too many holes that the Falcons needed to fill, so their 2022-2023 season would not be a successful one in the win column. It became clear that the Falcons would need a few years to fix the cap situation, bring in stars, and let the ensuing draft picks take over for this new era of Falcons football.  

One of the things that I look forward to is how the Falcons plan to use quarterback Marcus Mariota, who has not started a game since 2019, when he was with the Tennessee Titans. For backup relief, the Falcons chose Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder in the third round of the draft. These two options sent a clear message to me about the direction that the Falcons. They wanted to go for the exciting, young, mobile quarterback.  

All of these factors are key decisions that teams make to rebuild their franchise, and the Falcons responded in what I feel was the right way to these big offseason decisions.  

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