Free agency officially begins at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, but some teams have made their free-agent splashes already.
The Atlanta Falcons aren't one of them.
We'll see what coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff have up their sleeves to help bolster the roster for the 2016 season. Maybe raiding the Cleveland Browns will be the Falcons' best bet for improving the offensive side of the ball.
The Falcons definitely are in the hunt for center Alex Mack, who opted out of the final three years of his contract in Cleveland. As of late Tuesday night, there was nothing new to report regarding the Falcons' interest level in Mack, a three-time Pro Bowler who would provide instant stability at a critical position. The question is, will the Falcons be willing to make Mack the highest-paid center in the league at an anticipated $10 million per year? And if they do so, will that keep them from addressing a couple of their other key needs such as a pass-rusher, a fast linebacker, a complementary receiver to Julio Jones, and an impactful strong safety?
Speaking of receiver, the Falcons also inquired about another member of the Browns: speedster Travis Benjamin. Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan held the same position in Cleveland during the 2014 season and knows what both Benjamin and Mack are capable of contributing. Not to mention Benjamin brings added value as a return man.
If the Falcons strike out on Mack and Benjamin, then what's next? Linebacker is such a dire need with only one player at the position -- starting middle linebacker Paul Worrilow -- expected to return once the restricted free-agent signs the second-round tender the Falcons place on him worth $2.553 million in 2016. The Falcons did have veteran middle linebacker James Laurinaitis in for a visit Tuesday, but he did not immediately sign. Laurinaitis is a savvy veteran but doesn't exactly have the speed the Falcons are looking for.
Denver's Danny Trevathan, as expected, is high on the Falcons' radar, but the inside linebacker might rejoin his old coach John Fox in Chicago. The word is Trevathan is looking for more than $7 million per season, which would seem to be out of the Falcons' price range for a guy who is productive but might not be an ideal scheme fit. Indianapolis' Jerrell Freeman, who has some injury concerns, might be the best option in the end because of his speed.
If the Falcons strike out on Benjamin, look for Cincinnati's Mohamed Sanu to be strongly considered as the No. 2 receiver, with Roddy White recently released. Sanu said he wouldn't mind playing next to and learning from Julio Jones.
In terms of adding a pass-rusher, the options are dwindling. Seattle's Bruce Irvin, who played under Falcons head coach Dan Quinn when Quinn was the Seahawks' defensive coordinator, mentioned last year how he wanted to come home to Atlanta and play for the Falcons. Well, Irvin is set to sign with the Raiders instead.
The Falcons tried to announce on their own website that they were in the running for Kansas City pass-rusher Tamba Hali. Maybe they thought such was the case, but it was made clear at this year's NFL combine that the six-time Pro Bowler Hali was going to re-sign with the Chiefs to finish his career where it started.
In regard to their own free agents, the Falcons continue to have discussions about re-signing Adrian Clayborn and O'Brien Schofield, with both players generating interest from other teams. Those two appear to be the top priorities of players currently on the roster who become unrestricted free agents.
The Falcons' adjusted salary-cap number is $158,801,871 based on $3,905,771 in cap carryover from last year. They are expected to enter the new league year on Wednesday with $23.91 million in cap space.