Nothing New: The Atlanta Falcons Have a Long Road Ahead to Success


The Atlanta Falcons are in for a long and difficult road ahead with a solid rebuild being the only answer. With the Calvin Ridley suspension and the need for an overhaul of the salary cap, there isn’t much to look forward to as a fan. The Atlanta Falcons finished with an abysmal 7-10 record this year, finishing 3rd in the NFC South and 24th in the NFL overall. Still unable to find success after their demoralizing Super Bowl 51 loss, the Falcons only glimmer of hope are their young stars in Kyle Pitts and AJ Terrell.

While it seemed like the Falcons did better than expected with their 7-10 record, they still – for anyone who watched the games – were a bad team. They won the games they were expected to win and lost the ones they were supposed to, yet watching the team every week showed how far this team has to go. “They just didn’t look good. It seemed like every position needed a better player, and now with Ridley out it’s only going to get worse,” said junior Amir Stevenson.

Calvin Ridley was the most disappointing news a Falcon fan could get, and North Atlanta students were just as disappointed. Ridley, who sat out the season from October until the season ended, was suspended by the NFL for a year at least for gambling. He bet on games in a parlay in November when he wasn’t playing, even betting on the Falcons. That may not seem like a problem since he wasn’t playing, but in sports, players are never allowed to bet on the games of the sport they play no matter what. “It just seemed like something that is pretty well known that you don’t do,” said junior Kameron Smith. “We were definitely going to trade him, but now we get nothing for him and he betrayed our trust.”

The Falcons are in a dire situation with the salary cap. With Matt Ryan being the biggest cap hit in the league with over 47 million dollars against the salary cap and the large contracts of linebacker Deion Jones, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, and left tackle Jake Matthews, Falcons management will have a tricky situation attempting to make off season moves. It will involve trades, restructuring contracts, cutting players, and contract extensions to have a healthy cap situation. The Falcons will also have to find players for cheap this offseason – like they did with Cordarelle Patterson – to fill the holes in the team.

Luckily, there is some hope for fans and North Atlanta students. The Falcons have two young stars in Pitts and Terrell along with the number eight pick in the draft, which they could use to fill one of the many holes on the team. Though the team has a long road ahead of them ,there is a way to the promised land that will require a couple seasons of rebuilding. Under new leadership in Arthur Smith – going into his second season with the Falcons – many are hopeful for a team that is at least exciting to watch (even without Calvin Ridley playing) by utilizing the young talent it has.