The easy take on the Atlanta Falcons and Cordarrelle Patterson - a one-year, $3 million free-agency jackpot for the first-year tandem of GM Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith - goes something like this:
"They must sign him at any cost!''
But in reality, that's how free agency and the salary cap work.
This isn't about CP being "invaluable''; this is about him being "valuable,'' and how to marry that with "affordable.''
Patterson, who led the team in rushing (618 yards) and in total touchdowns (11) while also helping with receiving yards (548), is on-record as saying he loves it here, loves how the coaching staff unleashed him, and all of that.
But he will be 31 in March. Low-mileage as a runner, yes, but ...
Over The Cap has Patterson priced at $8.8 million ... and we're betting Atlanta won't go there. The Athletic, in fact, thinks that number is too high.
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“If someone steps up with a deal in the $7 million range, it will be hard for Atlanta to match that, considering its salary-cap constraints and other areas of need,'' writes the site.
Meanwhile, SportsTalkATL smartly notes that there will be other teams with the same needs as the Falcons, but maybe more money and more desperation, who are prepared to overpay.
The concept of a "home-town discount'' is a fun one, a warm-and-fuzzy one. And it can happen. Atlanta truly does deserve a "reward'' of sorts for allowing the gifted Patterson a way to be seen as something more than a return specialist. But does Atlanta deserve millions of dollars in cap relief via Patterson's generosity as a reward?
Patterson's appreciate for the Falcons should not be ignored. Nor should his possible belief that this organization is building something. But one thing about players in their 30's, especially ones who haven't yet be given a gigantic contract: They are running out of time to hit their own personal financial jackpot.
Which is why logic says, unfortunately, Cordarrelle Patterson is this spring probably running out of Atlanta.