2022 Atlanta Falcons Offseason: Breaking Down the Cornerback Situation

Cornerback could be a strength for the Falcons in 2022. The Falcons have one of the best corners in the NFL in A.J. Terrell to build around.

Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell
Photo Credit: Dale Zanine / USA Today

Cornerback could be a strength for the Atlanta Falcons in 2022. The Falcons have one of the best corners in the NFL in A.J. Terrell to build around, but outside of him, there are some solid corners who can be solid role players within the coverage schemes Dean Pees deploys. The big focus for the Falcons will be trying to increase the length at the position and trying to see if they can continue to get more solid man coverage cornerbacks for the roster.

Atlanta Falcons Cornerbacks Under Contract:

CB A.J. Terrell: 2 years, $8.453 million left on his contract and a potential fifth year option

CB Kendall Sheffield: 1 year, $2.73 million left on his contract

RS/CB Avery Williams: 3 years, $3.0 million left on his contract

CB Darren Hall: 3 years, $3.424 million left on his contract

CB Cornell Armstrong: 1 year, $965,000 left on his contract

DB/CB Lafayette Pitts: 1 year, $1.035 million left on his contract

CB Corey Ballentine: 1 year, $895,000 left on his contract

CB Dee Alford: 1 year, $705,000 left on his contract

The Atlanta Falcons have a lot of talent locked in cheaply at cornerback for the 2022 season. This includes the Falcons No. 1 corner A.J. Terrell. The PFF All-Pro is arguably the best cover corner in the NFL. Darren Hall and Avery Williams are great fits for the Pees scheme.

Cornell Armstrong, Lafayette Pitts, and Dee Alford were all futures contracts who can compete for roster spots that fit into the scheme. Corey Ballentine is a former starter for the Giants who can potentially be that Fabian Moreau in 2022 for Atlanta.

Unrestricted Free Agents:

CB Fabian Moreau

CB Isaiah Oliver

Both of these cornerbacks should be brought back for different reasons. Fabian Moreau should be a cheap option who could continue to compete for depth with the Falcons even if he misses out on the starting role. Isaiah Oliver was Dean Pees preferred nickel back before the Falcons lost him due to injury. If they can bring him back on a prove-it type deal for a year and he stays healthy, it would give the Falcons someone who could really elevate the defense in 2022.

Current Need

The Atlanta Falcons have a solid need for a second cornerback even if the Falcons re-sign Fabian Moreau. Potential options for the Falcons in free agency are guys like Jason Verrett, Casey Heyward, and for a more long-term option Carlton Davis. These are all talented starting options, but they could end up being just out of the price range. Depending on overall cost, the Falcons should at least consider all three of these options.

Potential Future Need

The long-term need for a cornerback across from A.J. Terrell is there. However, the team could see it as filled if Darren Hall or Avery Williams drastically improve their coverage abilities. That’s unlikely, but the team could end up liking the idea of having Isaiah Oliver come back for a year and then seeing what they have. However, they could also see someone like Sauce Gardner or Coby Bryant or Andrew Booth as their future starter across from Terrell long term.

What the Atlanta Falcons Plan at Cornerback Should Be Moving Forward

There’s a lot of potential on this unit. However, moving forward, the Falcons should cut Kendall Sheffield for the cap space it would bring. After that, considering a free agent for around the same money Sheffield was going to make is an avenue to consider. If they can’t get one of those, drafting someone at any point in the draft to compete with Darren Hall and Avery Williams at right cornerback is the move to make. At nickel, bringing back Isaiah Oliver is the move.

Falcons vs Washington Football Team Preview

Which team will win and achieve a .500 record?

Credit: The Falcoholic

Hello Falcons fans! The Falcons are coming off an ugly (sorry Dean Pees) win against the Giants this past Sunday and now face the Washington Football Team. This will be a quick preview and things to look for going into Sunday’s matchup. So lets get this started:

Overall Team Record

The Falcons are currently 1-2, which is the same record as Washington. The Football Team is coached by Ron Rivera, a coach with plenty of familiarity with the Falcons during his tenure in Carolina. This Football Team, however, is different than some of those Carolina teams.

WFT: Defensive Line= Dangerous for Falcons line

Washington might have the best defensive line in football, even with five sacks being labeled as “under achieving”. That said, concern is still prevalent with the Falcons offensive line, especially on the interior. The matchups of Daron Payne/Jonathan Allen vs Jalen Mayfield will be more baptism by fire for the rookie. And Kaleb McGary vs Chase Young/Montez Sweat seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Expect Washington’s DL to be a major problem for Atlanta throughout the game, and expect Arthur Smith to dial quick passes, counters, screens, and other plays designed to offset a dominate defensive line. Enough with the depressing part, lets talk about what we have in our favor.

Is Heinicke the long-term plan?

The Football Team is running their backup quarterback and cult hero Taylor Heinicke, which could be favorable matchup for the Falcons defense. Heinicke is a player who has no fear while passing, and this is something Atlanta can take advantage of to create turnovers for the defense. An issue though is that Heinicke is from Atlanta and is really enjoying the homecoming for him:

Matchup to Watch: WFT WR McLaurin vs. Falcons’ CB Terrell

Heinicke’s top target, Terry McLaurin, will be matched up with one of the NFL’s best young CB’s in AJ Terrell this week. Terrell has really stepped up this season and is starting to look like a star for this Atlanta defense. The battle between these two will be incredible if you love WR and DB play.

Final Thoughts

Long story short, these two teams have a lot of intriguing matchups to be focusing on and both teams have been struggling in the win column. This game could be the key to kickstarting each team’s season if they’re hoping to make a playoff push. The best outcome for Atlanta, win or loss, is to show true competitiveness for 60 minutes. This team has had moments of brilliance and others where they look like they need to be a JV team. Which Falcons team will we get? Let us know!