Falcons offseason primer: Change afoot, QB question lingers

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Atlanta Falcons 2023 record: 7-10

Projected salary cap space: $29.1 million

Offseason storylines: Yes, Atlanta went 7-10 for the third consecutive season. But are the Falcons a few sharp turns away from the passing lane in the NFC South? Consider the club lost five games in the final minute by a total of 16 points.

New sheriff in town Raheem Morris plans to build a defense capable of striking fear into opposing quarterbacks. That philosophy will dictate some of the team’s spending and perhaps the plan with the No. 8 overall pick in the draft. But there’s the significant rub of Atlanta remaining unsettled at quarterback. Desmond Ridder didn’t take the bull by the horns, part of the reason Arthur Smith was canned.

Team Needs: QB, DE, WR, DT, OL The top defensive player in the draft could potentially be available to the Falcons because of an expected grab at the QB, WR and OT spots. Atlanta should be in a great spot to get the player it wants without moving up. At wide receiver, moving tight end Kyle Pitts could be an option considering every player at the position not named Drake London can leave in free agency.

Top free agent: LB Bud Dupree – Tied for the team lead in 2023 with 6.5 sacks, Dupree fits the mold of edge rusher who’ve thrived under Morris such as Leonard Floyd (Rams) and won’t likely strike it rich elsewhere.

Unrestricted free agents (as of March 13): DE Calais Campbell OLB Lorenzo Carter OLB Bud Dupree CB Tre Flowers DE Joe Gaziano WR KhaDarel Hodge WR Mack Hollins WR Van Jefferson DE LaCale London WR Scotty Miller CB Jeff Okudah RB Cordarrelle Patterson TE MyCole Pruitt FB Keith Smith QB Logan Woodside