Depending on who you ask, the Falcons’ first season under the new regime went two different ways. Some optimistic fans and analysts believe it was a resounding success for Arthur Smith, who won three more games than the previous regime with a less talented roster. More pessimistic folks will say those seven wins aren’t indicative of how poor this team played. For Mike Davis, the season was a disappointment.
When I say this shit hurt . It really hurt. All I wanted to do was put on for my family and city and had the worst year of my life. My teammates it hurt man cause I let y’all down. I messed up too much this year . I own up to everything pic.twitter.com/N4bjHmYTzP
— IG MikeDavisRB (@MikeDavisRB) January 10, 2022
First and foremost, I’d just like to say to Davis (even if he never reads this) that there was never a doubt in fans’ minds if you were giving it your all or not. I never once questioned the effort Davis put in even if the production was underwhelming. By every significant metric, he regressed from a season ago.
In Carolina, Davis ran 165 times for 642 yards (3.9 YPC) and six touchdowns — all career-highs. Replacing Christian McCaffrey with the Panthers a year ago also resulted in career-highs in targets (70), receptions (59), receiving yards (373), and touchdowns (2).
With the Falcons, the hometown kid rushed 138 times for 503 yards (3.6 YPC) and three touchdowns on the ground, while adding 259 yards on 44 receptions and one receiving touchdown. In every statistical category, Davis fell short of his 2020 numbers except for one. Davis fumbled the ball four times in Atlanta, which is twice as many as he’s had his entire career.
By all accounts, the only multi-year deal Terry Fontenot handed out last Spring was an overwhelming failure, but to be fair to Davis, the Falcons offensive line would’ve made it nearly impossible for even Jonathan Taylor or Derrick Henry to produce. The offensive line needs to be upgraded, not the running back; however, Cordarrelle Patterson being brought back seems to be of the utmost importance for the front office.
Patterson returning could spell the end of Atlanta for his counterpart. Davis is under contract in 2022 after signing a two-year deal worth $5 million last offseason. There is a chance the Falcons move on, and Jake broke down what that could look like.
I don’t think Mike Davis has had a bad season in Atlanta; he’s typically being hit before he has a chance to establish himself as a runner. I think he is on a pretty reasonable deal, but with Cordarrelle Patterson likely needing a new contract, perhaps the Falcons cut ties to save a little money and look to draft a running back for the first time under this new regime. Qadree Ollison is another less expensive option the Falcons may turn to.
Dead Cap (Before June 1st): $750k
Savings (Before June 1st): $2.5 million
Dead Cap (After June 1st): $750k
Savings (After June 1st): $2.5 million