Falcons Exercise Chris Lindstrom’s Fifth-Year Option, Decline Kaleb McGary’s

The Falcons are splitting the decisions on their 2019 first-round offensive linemen. In a pair of tweets, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that Atlanta is picking up the fifth-year option on guard Chris Lindstrom, but declining to do so with tackle Kaleb McGary

Neither move is seen as much of a surprise. Lindstrom, the 14th overall selection and second offensive linemen to come off the board in that class, has started all 38 games he has played in. While that total includes only five games in his rookie season, he has improved from year to year so far. He was credited with just two penalties committed and zero sacks allowed by PFF, helping him earn a career-high 83.7 grade.

For McGary, who went 31st overall, the transition to the NFL hasn’t gone as smoothly. He has also logged plenty of snaps, starting 45 of 46 career games, but has had neither the immediate impact nor the upward trajectory of Lindstrom. His PFF grades have been in the low-to-mid-60s the past two seasons, and in 2021 he ranked 59th out of 83 qualifying tackles. He will head into this season unsure of his future with the team beyond that point.

By picking up Lindstrom’s option, Atlanta will have a key cog on the offensive line in place for at least two more seasons. As a Tier 3 player for financial purposes, he will earn just over $13.2MM in 2023. Given his level of play – and, to a lesser extent, the team’s lack of significant additions at the position in the draft – it would come as little surprise for a long-term deal to be on the horizon for him.

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