By March 9 at 4:00 pm ET, each NFL team will have made their decisions on which potential Free Agents they want to re-sign. If there are unable to come to terms with one of their star players, they can use the franchise or transition tag to retain their right and buy some extra time to work out a long-term deal. Then the real fun begins.

The defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons are coming off an 11-5 showing and captured the NFC South. But all anyone now remembers is a 34-28 overtime loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. Dan Quinn’s team squandered a 25-point third-quarter lead.

But the franchise has no time for tears. So which Falcons’ player will the club stress to Bring back and which performer will hit the open market? Let’s take a look.

Bring him back

The 2016 Atlanta Falcons scored an NFL-best 540 points, tied for the eighth-most in one season in league history. Quarterback Matt Ryan won NFL MVP honors thanks in part to 38 touchdown passes. A record 13 different players hauled in at least one scoring toss from the nine-year pro. That includes veteran tight end Jacob Tamme, who caught 22 passes for 210 yards and three scores before going down with a shoulder injury.

However, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure feels there’s a good chance that the 31-year-old pro could wind up reuniting with Kyle Shanahan, now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

That’s why it’s imperative to bring back potential free agent Levine Toilolo to bring back emerging star Austin Hooper. The latter totaled just 19 catches but for 271 yards (14.3 average) and three scores.

Let him go

Defensive end Dwight Freeney has enjoyed an amazing career with four NFL teams, including the Atlanta Falcons in 2016.

The 15-year performer has racked up 122.5 career sacks and 46 forced fumbles. And while he made life somewhat easier for teammate Vic Beasley (NFL-best 15.5 sacks in ’16), he managed only 10 tackles and three QB traps in 15 regular-season outings (1 start). Yes, he added two tackles and a sack in the team’s three playoff games.

But the sense is that this may finally be the end for the seven-time Pro Bowler.

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