Mutual Interest Between Falcons, Rashaan Evans On Re-Signing

The Titans did not pick up Rashaan Evans‘ fifth-year option in 2021, and tepid interest came the linebacker’s way in free agency last year. But the former first-round pick started for the Falcons throughout last season.

Dean Peesretirement would stand to cloud Evans’ future with the Falcons, given their two-city history, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes there is mutual interest between the five-year veteran and the Falcons about another deal.

Evans played on a one-year pact worth $1.75MM. He ended up leading the Falcons — by a wide margin — in tackles with 159. That total bested Evans’ previous career-high mark by 38. The Alabama product added two sacks and a forced fumble; Pro Football Focus ranked Evans just outside the top 50 among off-ball linebackers this season.

Evans, 27, started all 17 Falcons games for this Falcons edition. It is safe to say the former No. 22 overall pick will command a deal worth a bit more than $1.75MM in 2023, but Ledbetter adds the sides only recently began negotiations.

The Falcons have hit on a few linebackers in recent years. In addition to longtime starter Deion Jones, the team drafted De’Vondre Campbell and Foye Oluokun. Atlanta did not re-sign either player, after having reupped Jones in 2019. The team also dealt Jones before last year’s deadline, incurring a sizable dead-money hit in the process. It will be interesting to see how new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen views Atlanta’s holdover ‘backers. Nielsen spent the past six seasons coaching a 4-3 scheme in New Orleans; Atlanta used a 3-4 alignment (when in base sets, that is) under Pees over the past two years.

A second Evans accord factors into an equation involving contract-year inside ‘backer Mykal Walker, a former fourth-round pick who moved into the starting lineup following Okuokun’s defection to Jacksonville. The Falcons also drafted Troy Andersen in last year’s second round. A number of notable off-ball linebackers are on track to hit free agency. Evans joins Tremaine Edmunds, ex-Titans teammate David Long, Lavonte David, Bobby Okereke, T.J. Edwards, Germaine Pratt, Kyzir White, Leighton Vander Esch and Azeez Al-Shaair as free agents-to-be.

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