WATCH: How Gerald McCoy signing with the Panthers will affect the Falcons
The Falcons have a new defensive lineman to worry about this upcoming season. You might remember his outgoing personality and large stature from the Buccaneers' season on Hard Knocks. Gerald McCoy has agreed to a contract with the Carolina Panthers. The deal is for one-year and up to $10.25 million including a $4 million signing bonus. This is great news for the Panthers, but for the Falcons--not so much.
The Panthers are arguably the Falcons biggest competition in the NFC South going into the 2019 season. Last season the two teams tied records both going 7-9, with the Panthers having a slightly better record at home than the Falcons. This offseason the Falcons have done everything they can to improve both their offensive and defensive line, but the Panthers signing McCoy might have put them one step ahead. McCoy was always a concern to the Falcons, but the Buccaneers defensive line is currently much less intimidating than the Panthers.
While this might be daunting for the Falcons heading into a brand-new season that is immediately following a completely embarrassing year, it might serve as a good motivator for the Falcons moving forward. Imagine having 6’4” 300-pound lineman coming after you—probably not the most magical thought for an opposing lineman, but it might be the thought the Falcons need.
Many of the defensive tackles for the Falcons are newer to the NFL whereas the Panthers definitely have the edge of a more experienced defensive line. This could make or break some teams, but the Falcons will succeed, especially since Gerald McCoy is not the only new acquisition in the NFC South that the Falcons need to worry about. The Saints just signed two-time Super Bowl champion Malcom Brown—a powerhouse in the conference. These types of players will help the Falcons grow rather than beat them into submission. Obviously, the hope is to have these athletes on the same side of the line of scrimmage, but in the meantime while the Falcons are growing their talents this is exactly what they need.