Raiders trade Bryan Edwards for late-round pick

Raiders WR Bryan Edwards traded to Atlanta
Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders have traded wide receiver Bryan Edwards and a seventh-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for a 2023 fifth-round pick. In 2021, Edwards caught 34 passes for 571 yards and three touchdowns per Pro Football Reference.

Edwards is entering his third year in the league after being drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft. His big plays have been few and far between, but he is a reliable and hard-working player with a lot of potential. Last season, Raiders coaches even went so far as to say Edwards reminded them of Hall of Fame player, Terrell Owens. While he didn’t live up to those high standards, he did make some game-changing plays for the Raiders.

The 23-year-old receiver’s biggest impact as a Raider came during a must-win game in Week 15. The Silver and Black were visiting the Browns in Cleveland. Las Vegas sat at 6-7 with their playoff hopes on the line. Both teams had been dealing with COVID-19 breakouts, and the Raiders needed everyone to stand out. Edwards took it to heart the most as he made the play of the game in the first quarter, catching a touchdown pass over the head of the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback, Denzel Ward.

For the Raiders, they are now one step closer to finalizing their wide receivers room after a big shakeup this off-season.

Edwards will now join his former teammate, quarterback Marcus Mariota, in Atlanta. A receiving corps including Edwards, Kyle Pitts, and Drake London is sure to turn some heads in 2022.

Falcons Dueling Mock Draft: Beginning of a New Era

The Falcons have hit a new era. No more Julio Jones, no more Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley is suspended for a year, and Foye Oluokun and Russell Gage have left in free agency. The roster is in the process of a long, drawn out overhaul. The Falcons have added some nice quality veteran free agents in guys like Casey Hayward and Lorenzo Carter but need more. So here we have some of the Falcons ATB contributors going at it to see who can create the best Falcons mock draft to kick-start the new era.

Hunter’s Falcons Mock Draft (@hthompsonNFL)

Pick 8: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt

I get it, this pick isn’t popular and I know quarterback is a bit of a sore subject at the moment. But hear me out at least. The Falcons can’t expect to compete with Mariota at quarterback. Pickett gives the Falcons a pro-ready QB who was a Heisman finalist in 2022.

He fits what Arthur Smith and the offense wants to do. Pickett is an accurate quarterback who posses the ability to run and pick apart the middle of the defense, perfect for what Smith wants between his time with Tannehill and Mariota in Tennessee.

Pick 43: Christian Watson, WR, NDSU

Yes, we have added a new franchise QB and now we are adding a future star at the wide position. There is a real possibility that Christian Watson isn’t here come draft day, but he was so I had to pick him over some other guys.

Watson is a freak athlete who is 6’4″ 208lbs and runs a 4.36. He is also a guy who can take over games and become a dominant freak as a WR1 for Atlanta. Watson is a YAC Daddy who creates explosive plays anytime the ball is in his hands. Bonus points that Watson has no fear as a blocker. Smith and company will love that.

Pick 58: Travis Jones, NT, UConn

The Falcons add another freak athlete here who can be an immediate plug-and-play within the defense. Yes, the Falcons re-signed Anthony Rush. Don’t let that stop you from getting better.

Travis Jones is a monster at the nose tackle spot and would pair very well with Grady Jarrett on the line. Jones is a powerful and fluid athlete who is a plug in the run game and can help collapse the pocket and free the edges and Grady.

Pick 74: James Cook, RB, UGA

The Falcons brought back Cordarrelle Patterson and added Damien Williams to the backfield, but neither is the future. James Cook would be the future-type of back for the Falcons. Cook is incredibly explosive with the ball in his hands as a runner and receiver and would thrive in Arthur Smith’s zone scheme.

Pick 82: Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss

The Falcons are back to bolstering the defense with this pick of the mock draft. Ole Miss EDGE Sam Williams is a massive talent that I think is a steal here. He struggles a bit in run defense, but man his pass rush arsenal is NICE. Williams is a violent pass rusher who uses his variety of moves to generate pressure and create sacks. Williams ended the 2021 season with 12.5 sacks.

Pick 114: Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma

The Falcons lost Foye Oluokun in free agency to the Jacksonville Jaguars and need to bolster the linebacker room. At the moment it looks like incumbents Deion Jones and Mykal Walker will be the starters, but it never hurts to gain a player to compete with him.

Brian Asamoah is a high energy player who has incredible sideline-to-sideline speed and could step into a special teams role early and develop into a potential starter.

Pick 151: Alex Wright, EDGE, UAB

Falcons double dip on EDGE here with UAB’s Alex Wright. The 6’7″ 260lbs freak is a long, powerful pass rusher who has the tools to potentially develop into a starter. He is similar to Ade Ogundeji in a lot of ways and can add depth to the Falcons EDGE group.

Wright isn’t necessarily a need, but he gives the Falcons another dart throw at the EDGE position, which has been lacking since 2014 when John Abraham left.

Pick 190: Cordell Volson, OT, NDSU

The Falcons have question marks across the offensive line. Former first round pick Kaleb McGary has had mixed reviews during his tenure in Atlanta, and here we have the Falcons drafting a tackle to hopefully push McGary. Or at least become a good swing tackle going forward.

Volson has a good frame at 6’6″ 315lbs and is a multi-year starter. The jump from talent might pose an issue for Volson because he isn’t a dominant athlete or have great technique, but he is a guy worth taking a flier on late who can potentially strengthen some OL depth.

Pick 213: Jordan Stout, P, Penn State

Yes, it’s a punter. The Falcons have been down bad at punter for awhile now, until the ageless wonder Thomas Morstead saved the special teams. As great as Morstead is, he is 36 and not getting any younger. So here the Falcons select Penn State Punt God, Jordan Stout.

Stout has a dominant leg that excels both in the punt game and the kickoff game. While at the Senior Bowl, we watched Stout blasting 75+ yard kickoffs out the back of the end zone into the stands in the pouring rain. And I know that might not be enough to convince some, but hitting a guy in the 6th round who might develop into the best at his position is always a win.

Damski’s Falcons Mock Draft (@Damski32)

Pick 8: Travon Walker, EDGE, UGA

Travon Walker offers massive upside and an athletic freak. I think he has a ways to go as a pass rusher, but the size, strength, and ability vs the run gives you a heck of an EDGE prospect year one.

Pick 43: Christian Watson, WR, NDSU

Christian Watson represents a lot of what Arthur Smith wants to do offensively. Good on crossers, can be a good deep ball wide receiver, and be a good YAC wide receiver. Heck of a pick for ATL here.

Pick 58: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

Christian Harris is the perfect scheme fit for what Dean Pees wants to do defensively. Gap discipline, physical, and can give you something as a blitzer coming down hill. Love the player, love the fit. One pick that I do hope happens.

Pick 74: Travis Jones, NT, UConn

Travis Jones making it this far is wild, but I’m definitely all-in on him being the NT in our 3-man fronts. Dude is an ox and is super tough to move off the ball. I think he’d be a really good scheme fit, even in our under fronts!

Pick 82: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC

Drake Jackson for me is a really good sleeper in this class. Flashes lots of bendiness, but also offers some above-average hand play. Combine him doing stunts off the EDGE with Jones, Grady Jarrett, and Walker and you got a ton of mismatches.

Pick 114: WanDale Robinson, WR, Kentucky

WanDale Robinson is just another weapon for the offense. A guy who can take the top off of a defense, but also be a contributor on screens and crossers. I think Robinson would be a fun wrinkle to the O for Arthur Smith

Pick 151: Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati

Jerome Ford is a physical runner from Cincy who is really good on one cut and go runs, has surprising speed in the open field, but does want to run through you. I think this late he represents really good value.

Pick 190: Issac Taylor-Stuart, CB, USC

Isaac Taylor-Stuart is an atheltic specimen at the cornerback position who has an incredible athletic profile. Taylor-Stuart is only going to go up from here at this point in his career. Definitely worth a flier at this point.

Pick 213: Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State

Charlie Kolar is a very standard TE. Solid blocker who doesn’t wow you with his physical traits. He uses his frame and size to work crossers and seams in the passing game. And his 6’6″ frame also helps Kolar become a major red zone threat.

Kenny G’s Falcons Mock Draft (@Gritz_Blitz)

Pick 8: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Have you heard that Kayvon is lazy, selfish, and a bad teammate? Blah, blah, blah. When I watch KT play, I see one of the few blue chip players in this class. He has an insane first step and a rare blend of physicality and athleticism. There’s double-digit sack potential written all over Thibodeaux. His ceiling is sky high, and the Falcons would select him with the idea that he’d be the face of the future defense.

Pick 43: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota St.

6’4”, 208lbs, 4.36 40 yard dash. You sold yet? Christian Watson is one of the most explosive players in this draft class. He’s a complete receiver who has all the makings of a future number one target. Watson offers a lot of juice to the receiving corps, and could give Arthur Smith the big-play threat his offense so desperately needs.

Pick 58: Travis Jones, DT, UConn

Travis Jones is a mammoth of a man who can be the force in the middle of a defense for years to come. He’s got a club move that’ll knock you silly, and offers real pass rush upside not often found in players his size. He’d slide in as Dean Pees’ starting nose tackle and force opposing offenses to double him.

Pick 74: Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin

A thickly-built player who measured 6’2” and weighed in at 261lbs, Leo Chenal is one of the most physical linebackers I’ve seen in some time. He’s a sound tackler who’s quick to diagnose plays and shoots gaps like he’s being fired out of a cannon.

His run stuffing ability would be welcome in Atlanta after some of the LB play we saw last season. Chenal is a three down LB who’d be a leader on this team from day one.

Pick 82: James Cook, RB, Georgia

I wasn’t going to take a running back — until I imagined having both James Cook and Cordarrelle Patterson on the field at the same time. Selecting Cook gives the Falcons yet another versatile young play-maker. He can line up in the backfield, in the slot, or even out wide. James will find a way to make plays no matter what position he’s playing.

Pick 114: Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss

Double dipping in this edge class offers so much potential for a team in dire need of a pass rush. Do you know what pairing Sam Williams with KT could do for our edge group? In the words of MJ, “The ceiling is the roof.”

Williams tested like a crazy athlete, running a 4.46 at 261lbs, and you see the burst on tape. Adding a pass rusher this explosive in the 4th round feels like tremendous value.

Pick 151: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati

The Falcons need more help at corner, and while Bryant may be getting a bit overshadowed by Sauce, make no mistake: Coby can ball. The 2022 Thorpe Award winner has the size and athleticism to develop into a starter after playing behind Casey Hayward for a year or two.

Pick 190: Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State

The Falcons previously met with Charlie Kolar and attended his pro day. Atlanta needs tight end depth, and Kolar has potential to develop into a future Y tight end who can complement Pitts well. He’s a bit raw, but has great size, good hands, and is a willing blocker in the run game.

Pick 213: Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor

SPEED! You can’t have enough of it, and nobody offers more of it than Thornton. He ran a blazing 4.28 40-yard dash. He’s got a thin frame, but he’s tall and plays strong enough to beat press on the outside. Tyquan would be a legit deep threat from day one and has potential as a future starter.

Check out our previous Falcons mock draft pieces on atbnetwork.com and be sure to choose a winner for this version of dueling mocks!

Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft: How Matt Ryan Trade Affects Plans

The Atlanta Falcons traded Matt Ryan to the Colts for the No. 82 pick in the 2022 NFL draft. His era is now over in Atlanta, but he will always be remembered as one of the greatest Falcons of all time. To replace him, they will have to look to a combination of the NFL draft and the signing of Marcus Mariota. Mariota looks like a mentor for whoever they end up drafting.

To explore what the draft could look like, we employed the Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine to develop a realistic Atlanta Falcons mock draft scenario. General Manager Terry Fontenot has stated that he employs a Best Player Available draft strategy, but in reality, he will likely focus on finding a quarterback since he doesn’t have that franchise guy right now.

Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft

Malik Willis, first pick in this Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft
Photo Credit: G. Fiume/Getty Images

Round 1, No. 8 overall: QB Malik Willis, Liberty

Sure, the Falcons signed Marcus Mariota to start for the 2022 season. And that will be fine for until the next quarterback is ready. But they should look into someone who can not just be the guy who fits what head coach Arthur Smith likes, but be the guy who can help Smith expand his playbook.

Some guys will fit that mold in this draft later on, but if you like a guy enough to take him in the first, take him at your first round pick. We’ve done just that for this Atlanta Falcons mock draft.

The guy who truly fits the Falcons as a team, a city, and an organization is Malik Willis. He’s an Atlanta native who played at a pair of high schools in Atlanta before moving to Auburn and later on Liberty in college. He has the off-field credentials that would fit in well in with the Falcons as a leader for the locker room for years. And on-field, he has the rocket arm, exceptional mobility, and football IQ to be a premier quarterback in today’s NFL.

Malik Willis could be the long-term future in Atlanta. Photo by G. Fiume, Getty Images
Pickens would instantly be the No. 1 receiver in Atlanta. Photo by Curtis Compton, UPI

Round 2, No. 43 overall: WR George Pickens, Georgia

The Falcons currently have just 32 catches, 420 yards and three touchdowns of wide receiver production returning to the team in 2022 from their 2021 corps. The only two wide receivers of note on the Falcons current roster are Olamide Zaccheaus and Frank Darby. The signing of KhaDarel Hodge isn’t a needle-mover, either. Because of that, the Falcons should be in search of a man who can be a No. 1 wide receiver not just in on-field ability, but attitude.

George Pickens from Georgia is that guy in true form. He’s a 6-foot-3 receiver with some of the best speed in the draft. He can burn a defense deep and has the ability to go over the middle that will be needed for coach Smith’s schemes. Pickens has had some injury issues, and without those issues, he would probably be going top 10 in this draft. The Falcons should take advantage of this slip and hope he can avoid injury moving forward.

Travis Jones could be a dominant force next to Grady Jarrett. Photo by Kirby Lee, USA Today

Round 2, No. 58 overall: DL Travis Jones, Connecticut

The Falcons do have five defensive linemen on the roster now, but they could use a primary nose tackle-type to fit into the rotation with Anthony Rush, Marlon Davidson, and Ta’quon Graham. The player next to Grady Jarrett needs to be quick, strong, and large. Travis Jones fits that to a tee. He also matches the scheme defensive coordinator Dean Pees runs at the position.

Primarily someone who will eat double teams in Atlanta, Jones should open up Grady Jarrett to more one-on-one matchups with offensive linemen. Those double teams he eats should keep the linebackers behind him cleaner and the pass rushers next to him with more one-on-one matchups, as well. While an edge rusher would be helpful here, the pass rush is a multi-year project. Jones will help it more long-term than a first-year edge rusher.

Darrian Beavers is the ideal Dean Peas MIKE. Photo by Benjamin Solomon, Getty Images

Round 3, No. 74 overall: LB Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati

With the loss of Foye Oluokun, the Falcons will need someone to take over the middle linebacker role left in the void. Darrian Beavers fits in well with the Falcons’ defensive coordinator Dean Pees role at Mike. The Falcons would get a leader for their defense. Beavers understands the adversity of playing on a roster that may not be the most talented. He’ll be able to get the most out of the players around him.

Nik Bonitto (11) could be a star in Pees scheme. Photo by Tom Pennington, Getty Images

Round 3, No. 82 overall: EDGE Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma

The Falcons added to their edge room with the signing of Lorenzo Carter and addition-by-subtraction of letting Dante Fowler go. Carter and Adetekunbo Ogundeji will likely be the starters, but adding a pass rusher like Nik Bonitto to the rotation would only help. It does seem like this is a minor addition to be the direct compensation for Matt Ryan, as this was the pick gained in that trade, but Bonitto has the potential to be a vital piece of a pass rush.

Alec Lindstrom re-unites with his brother in Atlanta. Photo by AP

Round 4, No. 114 overall: OL Alec Lindstrom, Boston College

The Atlanta Falcons need to enhance the talent along the offensive line. What better way to do that than to bring in the little brother of the best offensive lineman they have? Alec Lindstrom can fit in well in the zone blocking scheme as he’s a quicker, more technical lineman. He also can play either guard or center position and allow Atlanta some competition for Matt Hennessy, Drew Dalman, Jalen Mayfield, and the rest of the interior line roster for a starting role in 2022.

Coby Bryant could be an intriguing projection. Photo by Jonathan Bachman, Getty Images

Round 5, No. 151 overall: CB/S Coby Bryant, Cincinnati

Based on the Falcons needs, bringing in someone like Coby Bryant to help the safeties room makes a lot of sense. Now that may sound a bit off because Bryant was a cornerback in college, but he was an extremely strong run defender and reliable tackler. More importantly, he was exceptional in zone coverages and a little weaker in man-to-man. The Falcons bringing in Bryant as a safety to be the free, deep defender makes sense as a projection this late.

Tyquan Thornton and George Pickens can burn defenses. Photo by Jerome Miron, USA Today

Round 6, No. 190 overall: WR Tyquan Thornton, Baylor

Because of the lack of wide receiver depth on the Falcons roster, adding another receiver in the sixth makes sense for that purpose. Tyquan Thornton was the most athletic receiver in the draft and at 6-foot-2, he has the height to help out the new quarterbacks make those throws needed in the red zone. Thornton is a bit rough around the edges as a route runner, but he fits in well with the schemes in Atlanta and can stretch the field.

Jalen Nailor could be a great fit in the slot long term. Photo by Chris Peterson, Getty Images

Round 6, No. 213 overall: WR Jalen Nailor, Michigan State

Our Atlanta Falcons mock draft ends the way it began: on offense. The slot receiver could also use an upgrade and bringing in someone like Jalen Nailor would help that depth there. Nailor has great big-play ability due to his run-after-catch ability to excel in the Falcons offense.

He will remind some of Russell Gage, but more polished as a route runner. The speed is there to torch a defense, and he’s great as a vertical receiver as well. Adding Nailor, Thornton, and Pickens would really give the Falcons larger, faster receivers to work with.

Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft: 2022 Pre-Free Agency Breakdown

The Atlanta Falcons have a lot of holes and free agency should help them address some. But the draft is where they’re going to truly rebuild the roster. Their biggest holes are at edge, on the offensive line and at wide receiver. Atlanta should use the draft to address some of those holes in an efficient way. This mock draft shows how the Falcons can do exactly that

With help from the Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine, we break down what the Falcons could do pending minimal free agency moves. Free agency will change a lot of of things for Atlanta, but this could help the Falcons should they focus more on re-signings than anything else.

Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gary McCullough

Round 1, No. 8 overall: EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State

The Falcons have terrible pass rush with the least amount of sacks in the NFL. A free agent signing would be ideal, but adding a premiere pass rusher in the draft would help. Jermaine Johnson is amazing as an athlete and can turn the Falcons pass rush into a solid one with his array of pass rush moves. He’s also one hell of a run defender who can set the edge and instantly upgrade the edge defense.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Sam Craft

Round 2, No. 43 overall: OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

Jaylen Mayfield was terrible as a rookie and might be in over his head at this point as an NFL starting offensive lineman. Kenyon Green was amazing at Texas A&M. Green fits in well with what the Falcons need at left guard with his agility, speed and size. He’s a guy who will improve the terrible pass blocking that Mayfield provided and has the speed to get to the second level.

Photo Credit: Paul Abell via Abell Images

Round 2, No. 58 overall: WR George Pickens, Georgia

George Pickens is a big, fast target who could be a No. 1 receiver in the Falcons offense. His size at 6-foot-3″ allows him to be a threat in the red zone. His speed allows the Falcons to have a deep threat at wide receiver. Pickens and 2021 first-round pick Kyle Pitts would be a great combination for Matt Ryan. Pickens has some injury concerns, and that would be why he falls.

Photo Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Round 3, No. 74 overall: WR John Metchie III, Alabama

The Falcons need a second receiver in this draft to replenish the wide receiver corps. John Metchie was amazing at Alabama and has shown through his three years there that he can be a great No. 2 or No. 3 receiving option in an offense. Metchie plays very similarly to Roddy White and has the same kind of athletic profile. Metchie only falls this far because of his ACL injury.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Round 4, No. 112 overall: EDGE Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati

The best fit in the draft outside of Kayvon Thibodeaux for the Falcons scheme is Myjai Sanders. He was a little light at the combine due to an illness, but has shown that he’s an elite athlete regardless. Sanders showed as a sophomore and junior that he can play the outside linebacker role flawlessly. Once he gets his weight up, he could be a perfect 3-down edge defender in the Falcons’ scheme.

Photo Credit: Rob Schumacher, USA Today Sports

Round 5, No. 150 overall: RB Rachaad White, Arizona State

The Atlanta Falcons will need a long-term option at running back that can be a true zone rusher. Rachaad White has a great frame and is similar to Tevin Coleman in his strengths as a zone running back. He has good vision and ridiculous speed for a man his size. His receiving ability is exceptional for a running back and his athletic profile is near the top at his position.

Photo Credit: http://www.gostanford.com

Round 6, No. 188 overall: DL Thomas Booker, Stanford

The Atlanta Falcons love athletes on the defensive line. In 2021, they selected Ta’Quon Graham and this season, adding Thomas Booker would add another athlete up front. Booker posted a 9.81 RAS and has shown that he can destroy an interior offensive line whether as a nose tackle, defensive tackle or defensive end. The versatility and athleticism up front will be a massive asset.

Photo Credit: 247sports.com

Round 6, No. 211 overall: S Smoke Monday, Auburn

The Falcons would love a player like Smoke Monday on their roster helping out their depth at safety and on special teams. Monday was a captain for Auburn and has incredible instincts in the field. His speed and athleticism fits in with the Falcons’ desire for top-tier athletes. The Auburn safety posted a 9.19 RAS at the Combine to rank in the 92nd percentile of athletes to ever test.

Atlanta Falcons: Will Cordarrelle Patterson Be Back?

Atlanta Falcons WR/RB/KR Cordarrelle Patterson
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2021 NFL season, the Falcons’ Cordarrelle Patterson seemingly had a defined role: elite kick returner with inconsistent contributions as both a runner and receiver. That’s the role that netted Patterson a one-year, $3 million contract from Atlanta in mid-April.

Nobody could’ve predicted what ensued. With the Falcons, Cordarrelle Patterson had a career year, rushing for 618 yards and six touchdowns on 153 carries, averaging a respectable four yards per carry, and catching 52 passes for 548 yards and five touchdowns. 

For much of the season, he was Atlanta’s most consistently productive offensive weapon. However, with Patterson’s significant uptick in production, retaining him in free agency became significantly less likely. Not only did Patterson produce more, but Deebo Samuel’s rise to prominence has brought the “wide back” role to life. Patterson is a proven commodity in that role and is one of only a handful of players currently in the league who can successfully execute the role.

Or at least, many expected the Falcons to struggle retaining Patterson. After polling multiple agents and an additional source, the picture has become clearer. Let’s get into whether or not Cordarrelle Patterson ultimately returns to the Falcons.

Falcons Cap Situation

Following Calvin Ridley’s suspension, Atlanta is now a little bit over $3 million above the cap, as Ridley’s contract has been deferred to 2023, saving the team north of $11 million. There are still several ways for general manager Terry Fontenot and company to open up cap space. 

For starters, the team can cut veterans Tyeler Davison and Mike Davis, saving $6 million in the process. Restructuring Matt Ryan and extending Grady Jarrett would open an additional $23 million, though that route is rather uncertain. 

Regardless, the Falcons are not expected to be major players early on in free agency. Much like last season, Fontenot and his team are likely to go value-shopping after the first wave concludes. As a result, many have wondered whether or not the team will have enough money to retain Cordarrelle Patterson.

Predicting Patterson’s Contract With the Falcons

The big question on many people’s minds regarding the Falcons’ Cordarrelle Patterson and his contract isn’t how long, it’s how much. While the exact price is still up for grabs, Patterson is likely to receive a contract in the $5-6.5 million range; one agent mentioned $4 million as the absolute floor.

One source does not expect Patterson to have many suitors above $5.5 million annually. An agent said he “get(s) the sense Atlanta does not even know what type of number to put on him.” Conversely, a source mentioned the Falcons will offer up to $6 million, but are hesitant to give more. So, the number is a bit unclear, but it appears that the length is not.

The consensus is that Patterson will once again be on a rather short deal. An agent predicted two years, citing Patterson’s age (31 in March) and many teams’ unwillingness to pay RB’s big money. The most a source predicted is three years, but the one-to-two range seems to be the sweet spot. 

Should it go to three years, the source predicted Patterson will receive somewhere in the $6-$6.75 million guaranteed range over the course of the contract. While age will be a factor, it’s important to remember that Patterson has lots of tread left on his tires. Still, the feel is Patterson gets around $10-$12 million over two years.

Patterson’s Free Agent Market

With Patterson’s outstanding season and the “wide back” becoming more popular, many believed Patterson would have no shortage of options. However, as stated above, it’s believed that the higher range of Patterson’s deal is unlikely to bring many suitors. 

With Patterson not breaking out until year nine in the NFL, other teams may lack the confidence required to give out a big number. It is possible that Patterson gets a steeper deal from a team desperate for versatility in the backfield, but it’s much more likely the final number is in the $5-$6 million range.

Does Patterson Return?

Ultimately, none of the sources felt particularly confident regarding Patterson’s deal or destination — he’s viewed as a tricky assessment. However, when factoring in that the Falcons seem willing to throw a decent price at its star wide back, and Patterson’s market isn’t expected to be as strong as initially believed, it does seem like there’s a fair chance he’s back in Atlanta.

Furthermore, Patterson has made his interest in staying in Atlanta very clear — he loves Atlanta, and Atlanta loves him. Price was always the issue; but after talking to league sources, it’s not as unlikely as once believed that Patterson will be back.