The Atlanta Falcons have not experienced much success in their history. Since they entered the NFL in 1966, they have won just two conference titles and lost both Super Bowl appearances. Their most recent run to the big game was in the 2016 season where they were a dominant force, running out to a 28-3 lead against the New England Patriots before falling in the first ever Super Bowl overtime.
Their success was partially down to the excellence of Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and with his departure to take over the San Francisco 49ers the offense took a big step down. In 2018 the Falcons suffered injuries to their key defensive players and ended up struggling to a 7-9 season and missing the playoffs. Many of the big names from their 2016 season are still there, like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Devonta Freeman which means the roster has potential, but there are plenty of holes you need to fill.
In Madden 19 you get the chance to play the 2018 season in Franchise Mode and push the Falcons toward Super Bowl LIII and beyond. They get an 83 overall rating in Madden 19, but that isn’t a good representation of the talent of this team. They have an 85 rating for offense and an 85 rating for defense, which shows good balance, but underscores a general lack of depth and a few missing pieces to the puzzle.
Atlanta Falcons Salary Cap
The Falcons start Franchise Mode with 61 players and $33.6 million in cap space. That’s not a lot of room, but you need to cut 8 players to get to the regular season roster limit of 53, so you can open up some more.
There are 20 players that can be cut without incurring any cap penalty, and while some like Andy Levitre and Bruce Irvin could free up a lot more money, there is no reason to remove them from the roster and hurt your performance immediately. After cutting down to 53 you should have around $36 million in cap space which is enough to be getting on with, especially since some big contracts are coming off the books after the first season.
Atlanta Falcons Impending Free Agents
There are 28 impending free agents on the Falcons roster. That’s quite a few but most are easily replaceable and shouldn’t be an issue to replace or re-sign. However, there are some players that you will need to retain or you will struggle to find an adequate replacement.
Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett is the best player with one year left on his deal. Re-signing him is vital given the lack of depth at that position and his age (25), but it will come with a hefty pay raise for him.
Running back Tevin Coleman is a very good player, but he can be let go as the Falcons are already invested in Devonta Freeman who has 5 years left on his deal. It would make no sense to also invest considerable cap space in Coleman, instead you should look to draft a replacement in round 4 or later.
Elsewhere cornerback Brian Poole and guard Andy Levitre are in the final year of their deals. Both are starters but shouldn’t be re-signed. The Falcons drafted cornerback Isaiah Oliver in 2018 and he should develop well to replace Poole. At 32 Levitre is nearing the end of his career and guards are pretty easy to come by in Madden 19. It will be cheaper to draft his replacement.
Other key impending free agents: Bruce Irvin (DE), Giorgio Tavecchio (K), Derrick Shelby (DE), Terrell McClain (DT)
Atlanta Falcons Roster Needs
The Falcons offensive skill positions are very strong. Matt Ryan is a terrific distributor of the ball and with Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Mohamed Sanu, and rookie Calvin Ridley around him they can score in a hurry. The weakness of the offense is up front where the offensive line is patchy. Left tackle Jake Matthews and center Alex Mack are terrific players, but around them there is room for improvement. With Levitre an impending free agent you should look for a guard in the mid-rounds of the draft, and while right tackle Ryan Schraeder is not amazing, he has 4 years left on his contract so replacing him isn’t easy.
Defensively the Falcons have some stars in middle linebacker Deion Jones, corner Desmond Trufant, and safety Keanu Neal, they need better depth everywhere. If you can’t hold on to Grady Jarrett you will have to find a quality defensive tackle option in free agency or the draft. The ideal scenario is that you sign Jarrett to a long-term deal to anchor the middle of your defense and can then look at a new outside linebacker, cornerback depth, and even another defensive end as Vic Beasley hasn’t panned out and Takkarist McKinley is just a second-year player that may not develop as hoped.
The Falcons star power makes them an immediate contender in Madden 19. They have the ability to make big plays on offense and create turnovers on defense, but in Franchise Mode injuries can completely ruin a season, and if they strike on defense as they did in the 2018 season then you will be in trouble. Finding depth and consistency is the key to creating a multiple season Super Bowl window.