Three Falcons whose futures will be a priority for the cash-strapped new regime

The Atlanta Falcons are headed for a pretty busy offseason.

Not only do they need to find a new general manager and head coach, there are also some significant roster decisions to be made. And that should be the first priority for whoever gets those jobs, especially since the Falcons are currently projected to be $37.4 million over the salary cap in 2021.

Here are three players the new regime has to consider:

RB Todd Gurley II

2020 breakdown: Gurley has rushed for 660 yards and nine touchdowns and caught 24 passes for 147 yards. His 3.5 yards per carry is the second-lowest of his career and his 6.1 yards per catch is the lowest. He’s had one 100-yard game (121 against Carolina in October) and has rushed for more than 63 yards in a game only one other time (80 against Chicago in September).

2021 contract status: Free agent

Bottom line: That’s not the kind of production the Falcons expected when they signed Gurley to a one-year deal worth $5.5 million, but then again nothing has gone as expected for the Falcons in 2020. Still, keeping him around in 2021 and beyond makes sense as long as it’s at a reasonable number. That’s a problem because Spotrac.com lists his market value at $12.2 million. The Falcons are already projected to be significantly over the cap next year and spending that much money on a running back with that kind of production doesn’t make sense for the organization.

S Keanu Neal

2020 breakdown: After missing 28 games over the past two seasons because of a torn ACL and ruptured Achilles, Neal is third on the team with 93 tackles and has added three QB hits, an interception, and the first sack of his career. Falcons defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich told reporters they’re using Neal similarly to the way Seattle is using Jamal Adams.

2021 contract status: Free agent

Bottom line: Neal, whom the Falcons selected 17th overall in 2016, played 2020 on the fifth-year option. One thing that could impact his market value if he were to hit free agency is his injury history and teams could be reluctant to sign him to more than a one-year deal. He has missed only one game this season, however, and he seems to be rounding back into his pre-injury form when he was a huge difference-maker on a very good defense. Neal’s a player the Falcons should try to re-sign.

K Younghoe Koo

2020 breakdown: Koo’s missed 39-yard field goal that would have tied the game against Kansas City aside, he’s been one of the NFL’s best kickers in 2020. That miss snapped a streak of 27 consecutive made field goal attempts and he has missed just two (35 of 37) field goal attempts and three PATs (30 of 33). Koo, who was one of two Falcons named to the Pro Bowl, also has scored 135 points, just three shy of the NFL lead held by Las Vegas kicker Daniel Carlson heading into Week 17.

2021 contract status: Free agent

Bottom line: Matt Bryant had been so reliable for the Falcons for so long (he signed in 2009) but he started to slip last season (he missed five of 14 field goal attempts) so the team signed Koo, who made 23 of 26 attempts and earned a one-year contract. Koo has made 58-of-63 field goal attempts since he joined the Falcons. Teams love that kind of consistency so he’s going to be in demand. OverTheCap.com puts his valuation at just less than $3 million per year and that may be a tough decision for the Falcons considering their cap situation.