Two key free agents returning to Falcons
Atlanta Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff indicated at the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that the Falcons would tender contracts to restricted free agents Taylor Gabriel and Ben Garland.
Taylor Gabriel is expected to be tendered a contract at the second round level while Ben Garland will likely be tendered at the lowest level. For the 2016 league year, the second round level tender paid $2.553 million while the lowest tender level paid $1.671 million.
Tendering Gabriel at the second round level gives the Falcons the right of first refusal and guarantees the Falcons a second round draft pick should a team decide to offer Gabriel a contract the Falcons do not wish to match. Garland, meanwhile, can be extended a contract offer by another team for no draft pick compensation but the Falcons will be given a chance to match the deal.
Gabriel was a big play threat for the Falcons in 2016 after being waived by the Cleveland Browns. He caught 35 passes on 49 targets for 579 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged over 16 yards per catch and even added a rushing touchdown to his resume.
Garland played in all 16 games for the Falcons and brought value to the team as a dual reserve offensive and defensive lineman. He recorded three total tackles on defense and recorded a safety against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Round Playoffs.