Other teams can sign Gono to an offer sheet, but the Falcons retain the right to match. The Falcons could allow Gono to leave and receive draft compensation based on the tender level of a second-round pick.
Gono, who was in his third season out of Division III Wesley College in Delaware, was stout at right tackle last season. He played so well starting at right tackle while subbing for Kaleb McGary early in the season, that the Falcons started him at left guard against the Chiefs in Game 15.
“We really believe he’s a tackle, but when you play that well we want to find a way to play the best five,” Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris said after the game. “You have to have the ability to put Matt Gono at guard and put him out there at times.”
Gono, center Matt Hennessy and right guard Chris Lindstrom all had tough times with Chiefs Pro Bowl defensive tackle Chris Jones. Former offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter noted that the film didn’t prepare the Falcons for the disruptive Jones.
James Carpenter, who was the starting left guard last season, was released last week.
With the legal tampering period underway, here’s a look at the Falcons’ free-agency situation before the start of the league’s new business year at 4 p.m. Wednesday:
Ricardo Allen, FS: Released Feb. 18.
Allen Bailey, DE: Released Feb. 18.
James Carpenter, OL: Released March 9.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Keanu Neal, SS: Did not receive the franchise tag.
Damontae Kazee, FS: Has announced that he’s moving on.
Alex Mack, C: Weighing his options, which include retirement.
Darqueze Dennard, CB: Played on a one-year contract in 2020.
Todd Gurley, RB: Played on a one-year contract.
Charles Harris, DE: Played on a one-year contract.
Brian Hill, RB: Is a valuable special teams player.
Justin McCray, OL: Was backup offensive line help.
Steven Means, DE: Played in all 16 games and made 11 starts. Finished with three sacks.
Sharrod Neasman, FS: Solid backup and special-teams player.
LaRoy Reynolds, LB: Speedy special-teamer.
Edmond Robinson, LB: Provided quality depth while playing in 13 games in 2020.
Luke Stocker, TE: Blocking tight end who spent time with Arthur Smith and the Titans in 2017 and 2018.
Laquon Treadwell, WR: Played last season on a one-year contract. Made a couple of nice plays late in the season.
John Wetzel, OT: Basically has been veteran insurance at tackle.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB: Has provided quality depth at cornerback spot. Played in 15 games last season and had three interceptions
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Matt Gono, OL: $3.384 million second-round tender made March 15.
Brandon Powell, WR: No tender made yet. Was the kickoff and punt returner last season.
The team can place three levels of tenders on these players for a non-guaranteed one-year deal. Other teams can sign an RFA to an offer sheet, with the current team having a chance to match, or a team can allow the player to leave and receive draft compensation based on the tender level.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
Younghoe Koo, PK: Signed March 11.
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, DE: Signed March 11.
Tyler Hall, CB: Signed March 11.
Christian Blake, WR: Signed March 11.
Jaeden Graham, TE: Signed March 12
Falcons’ 2021 draft position: Here are the picks in D. Led’s Mock Draft 2.0: Top five picks
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
2. New York Jets: Justin Fields, (QB, Ohio State)
3. Miami Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
4. Falcons: Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, (OT, Oregon)
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