Taylor Gabriel wants to continue his career with the Falcons. The feeling from the team is mutual, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
The wide receiver is a restricted free agent, meaning the Falcons have the upper hand with him even if another team has the intent to sign him to an offer sheet. However, it seems unlikely to reach that point, considering the Falcons can decide to place a higher tender on Gabriel, which would discourage another team from giving up a first- or second-round pick along with awarding Gabriel a new contract.
The Falcons also have the option to extend Gabriel’s current contract up until it expires on March 9, but their current $926,540 salary-cap figure, according to NFLPA calculations, would make doing so unlikely.
“Of course, I want to be a Falcon forever,” Gabriel said. “Just the camaraderie and the group, from [coach] Dan Quinn to the owner [Arthur Blank]. And everyone has bought into what we have here. Yes, I want to be a Falcon forever.”
General manager Thomas Dimitroff said last week while discussing cornerback Desmond Trufant’s contract status that the focus heading into free agency is re-signing the team’s own players. He included Gabriel in the group despite Gabriel’s restricted status. The Falcons are expected to have between $26 million-$29 million in cap space once the new league year starts (March 9, 4 p.m. ET), based on a projected salary cap between $166 million-$168 million.
“It’s going to be positive for him,” Dimitroff said of Gabriel. “Yes, we want him back as well.”