McGary entered the 2022 season with one year left on his contract after the Falcons elected not to pick up his fifth-year option. It was an obvious move for the Falcons at the time, because McGary had not lived up to his first-round status in three years on the job.
That changed in his second season under head coach Arthur Smith and his power-running attack. McGary flourished and PFF took notice.
The Falcons declined McGary’s fifth-year option heading into 2022 after three seasons where he had failed to make the type of impact one would expect from a first-round pick. The former Washington Husky responded by having a career year on the right side of the Falcons’ line. Among tackles, McGary’s 91.8 run-blocking grade trailed only the San Francisco 49ers‘ Trent Williams. — Gordon McGuinness, PFF
McGary finished as PFF’s No. 4 ranked offensive tackle, left or right, in large part because of his run-blocking prowess. PFF gave him just a 66.9 grade in pass blocking compared to his sky-high 91.8 run-blocking grade.
The discrepancy between the two-skill sets led PFF to also put McGary on a “buyer beware” list of pending free agent. Despite the lofty ranking, McGary might not translate to every team. He was a round peg in a round hole for Smith and the Falcons.
The Falcons don’t particularly care about his fit with other teams and should be a priority to re-sign this offseason. The fact that he isn’t an ideal fit for a lot of teams should help to keep his price down.
Free agency opens on March 15th, and McGary will have plenty of options.
But how many of those options will be a better fit than the Falcons who also have the second most salary cap space in the NFL? McGary will knock on the door of $15-million per season on his next contract.
Not picking up McGary’s fifth-option prior to the 2022 season may cost the Falcons a little extra money in 2023 on the front end of a new contract, but it will be worth it to Atlanta if they can re-sign McGary and get the same production out of him they did last year.