Cordarrelle Patterson was arguably the best free agent signing in the NFL last season.
The Atlanta Falcons brought Patterson in to help shore up their woeful 2020 return game and signed Patterson to a one-year $3 million deal. They hoped he would add more to the running game and be an option with Mike Davis out of the backfield as a receiver.
They got so much more.
Patterson led the team in rushing yards and touchdowns as well as receiving touchdowns on the way to being the team’s offensive MVP.
But that one-year deal has expired, and Patterson’s value has at least doubled after his breakout season with the Falcons.
Bleacher Report (B/R) put together a piece detailing the best landing spots for the top free agent running backs and has Patterson returning to the Falcons.
Writes B/R of the Falcons and Patterson:
“Patterson finished the year with 618 rushing yards, 548 receiving yards and 11 combined touchdowns. His versatility should grab the attention of multiple teams on the free-agent market. He has a projected market value of $9.1 million annually.
However, Atlanta appears to be the best spot for Patterson. It was the Falcons and head coach Arthur Smith who chose to give Patterson the opportunity to be an offensive weapon. In 2021, Patterson played 47 percent of the offensive snaps—according to Pro Football Reference—his highest percentage since the 2016 season.
Cap space could be an issue, as the Falcons are projected to be $1.9 million over the cap. However, Atlanta can and should create enough wiggle room to retain Patterson for the 2022 season.”
Patterson was a wildly popular player with the Falcons in his first and only year with the Falcons, and owner Arthur Blank has spoken highly of Patterson in the recent past.
“I think this is a very talented player, a very talented athlete,” Blank told the Falcons official website earlier this month. “This is a good example of when a coach understands the scheme, which he does, Coach Smith, and he takes an athlete like this and can use him in a variety of ways.
“I think you see the kind of production that he can have.”
“I hope that he’ll be a Falcon this time [next] year.”
Patterson has shown a willingness to return to Atlanta, but the Falcons will need to make a competitive offer to make it happen. A team like the Denver Broncos, that is losing Mevlin Gordon to free agency could allocate a portion of Gordon’s $8 million salary to Patterson, double Patterson’s pay, and STILL save money.
There seems to be the hope from both parties to get a deal done. And Falcons fans hope B/R is right… best fit… Atlanta Falcons.
More from All Falcons