Atlanta Falcons left guard Chris Lindstrom was recently named the Secret Superstar on the squad by Pro Football Focus.
Teammate Kaleb McGary hasn’t been as fortunate.
Lindstrom and McGary were both first-round draft choices by the Falcons in the 2019 NFL Draft, and while Lindstrom (the No. 14 overall pick) has flourished, McGary (31st overall) has struggled.
Lindstrom’s fifth-year option on his rookie contract was picked up by the Falcons. He’s scheduled to make north of $13 million in 2023. The Falcons declined McGary’s fifth-year option, and he’s scheduled to be a free agent following his season.
The stakes couldn’t be any higher for McGary to have a good season. A contract of three years and $25 million wouldn’t be out of the question for a former first-round pick who is still just 27 years old.
Lindstrom likes what he sees from McGary so far and is betting on his teammate to have that good season.
“I love Kaleb,” said Lindstrom earlier this week. “I’m fortunate I’ve been able to play with him now it’s going on four years. I’m so impressed with him the way he’s come and worked this offseason and how great he looks.”
“I’m super excited for him to go out there and show that, because he’s really put the work in this offseason.”
A solid effort from McGary at right tackle would go a long way to solidify the Falcons’ offensive line, one of the weakest units on the team.
“I just think we have great cohesion as a unit,” continued Lindstrom. “I think we have understanding, will continue to grow, understanding of the offense. We know what the standard is; we know what we need to improve on.”
“And we’re going to go out there and try to be a hard-nosed group and always be assignment sound… and keep Marcus (Mariota) safe.”
That Lindstrom alludes to Mariota being the starting quarterback for the Falcons isn’t a big secret, but if his prediction of McGary’s vast improvement in 2022 holds true, the Falcons could easily exceed even their modest expectations this season.