Atlanta Falcons fans were extremely upset on social media after the team decided to pick up edge rusher Vic Beasley's fifth-year option. If the deal isn't reconstructed, Beasley will make (and count against the salary cap) $12.8 million in 2019.
But taking a look at what other edge rushers received in free agency, keeping Beasley at that price was probably the best option for the Falcons.
Last week, The Falcoholic compared Beasley's deal against Dante Fowler's new contract with the Los Angeles Rams, who traded for Fowler at the trade deadline last season. Beasley and Fowler aren't exactly the same because Fowler is about two years younger, but both came into the NFL as Top 10 picks in the 2015 draft.
Fowler received a one-year, $14 million deal with the Rams. That's despite the fact that he has yet to live up to his potential either. Fowler has never made the Pro Bowl and has 16.0 sacks in three seasons.
The Falcons want to see more sacks from Beasley. He only has 10.0 sacks in the last two years. Fowler, though, has 12.0 during that same stretch.
Dropping Beasley in the hopes of finding a different pass rusher on the free agent market just wasn't going to happen for Atlanta this offseason. They didn't have the cap space to sign Trey Flowers or Za'Darius Smith, both of whom will make at least $16.5 million as an average annual salary over the next four or five years.
Maybe the Falcons could have signed Fowler, but he is more expensive than Beasley and is only marginally better -- if that.
The way the 2019 free agent market went, Atlanta proved to be correct -- keeping Beasley and looking for pass rushing help in the draft was the team's best option.