Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Kaleb McGary had a breakout season last year, his fourth in the NFL. Prior to the season, the Falcons declined to pick up McGary’s fifth-year option, and he’s set to hit free agency on March 15th.
McGary finished as Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) No. 4 rated offensive tackle, left or right, largely because of his dominance in the run game.
PFF has included a McGary in their “Buyer Beware” article of pending-free agents, because McGary may not be able to replicate his success with another team.
The Atlanta Falcons fielded the league’s most run-heavy offense this season, calling a run play on 50.1% of their snaps. They were the only team in the league to run the ball more than they passed it.
That makes life easier for their offensive linemen, as does the rushing threat a quarterback like Marcus Mariota poses. McGary earned an 86.6 overall grade and a 91.6 run-blocking grade this season — but before committing big money to him, teams will have to ask themselves how much of that was created by one of the most unusual offenses in the league.
McGary’s PFF pass-blocking grade came in at just 66.9, and he allowed six sacks despite playing in the league’s most run-heavy attack. That’s something that could easily be exposed in a tougher offense somewhere else next season. — Sam Monson, PFF
That McGary may not fit into another scheme as well as he did for the Falcons last season should help keep his price down. The average of the top-five right tackles in the NFL for 2023 is roughly $18 million according to Spotrac.
Couple his limitations as a pass blocker with his only having one-good season with the Falcons, and McGary should get a good contract, but not a top-five type of contract offer on the open market despite his lofty ranking from PFF.
The good news for the Falcons is they don’t care about his fit in other schemes. McGary was terrific in Atlanta last season, finally showing the promise that made him a first-round pick in 2019. They’ll bank on him continuing that level of play and not reverting to pre-2022 form.
ESPN’s Field Yates believes the Falcons will re-sign McGary. An opening offer in the neighborhood of four years at $60 million with $40 million guaranteed should get the ball rolling. That works out to roughly a three-year deal at $13.3 million per season.
They can extend Chris Lindstrom and make highest paid offensive linemen in the league and re-sign McGary without negatively affecting their available-cap space. I explained how in the video below earlier this month.
The Falcons Podcast: