Falcons not ruling out Calais Campbell free agency return

Veteran pass rusher could return to Falcons

While many of the NFL’s veteran free-agent stars have already signed contracts for the 2024 season, defensive end Calais Campbell remains available.

The 37-year-old Campbell has enjoyed a long and productive career in the NFL, having played nine years with the Arizona Cardinals, three years with the Baltimore Ravens, three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the 2023 season with the Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta head coach Raheem Morris characterized the veteran defensive end’s season with the Falcons as a success, and he says that bringing him back to the Falcons remains a possibility.

“I look forward to get[ting] a chance to sit in front of him because he’s certainly as impressive as it gets when it comes to football character,” Morris told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s had as an impressive of a career that you can have. . . . I’m looking [forward] to discussing that in further detail with him at a later date.”

Campbell played in all 17 games for the Falcons last year, and he finished the season with 56 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and he was also credited with 1 safety.

Campbell is a 6-time Pro Bowl performer and also earned one first-team, All-Pro spot. He was the 2017 Pro Football Writers of America Defensive Player of the Year.

Campbell had 14.5 sacks that season while playing for the Jaguars that season. He also had 67 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 3 passes batted down, 3 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.

Salary issues for Campbell and Falcons

It’s clear that finances will have a huge impact on Campbell’s next contract. He had a cap hit of $7 million last year with the Falcons, as he earned $4 million in salary and also received a $3 million signing bonus.

At this point in his career, it may be hard for the Falcons to justify a similar salary for the upcoming season. The adjusted salary cap for 2024 is $260 million, and the Falcons already have $259 million in committed salaries.

It may be more beneficial for Campbell to negotiate with other teams that have more salary cap room.
The other factor that could impact Campbell’s next contract could be injuries to other pass rushers. If Campbell waits until training camp to sign with another team, he could get a similar salary to what he received last year if that potential employer has seen its defensive front decimated by injuries.

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