The Falcons will tender restricted free agent wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, both Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
That was the easy and rather obvious part. Which tender Gabriel gets remains to be seen, and neither would reveal it.
“Taylor wants to be here,” Quinn said. “That will be a fun view on seeing how he continues to evolve as a player for us.”
It makes sense that Gabriel would be in the Falcons’ plans, and it would make sense that the Falcons would place the second-round tender at an approximate cost of $2.8 million on Gabriel to protect themselves. Because Gabriel is a former undrafted player with the Browns, the Falcons wouldn’t receive any compensation if they placed the lowest tender on Gabriel and he ended up signing with another team.
The lowest tender would cost the Falcons around $1.8 million for Gabriel, while a first-round tender would be around $4 million. The Falcons can match any offer Gabriel would receive.
The Falcons claimed Gabriel via waivers last September, and he became a major contributor. He had five touchdowns, four receiving, and caught 35 passes for 579 yards.
One obvious potential landing spot if Gabriel got the lowest tender would be San Francisco, where Kyle Shanahan is now the head coach after spending the last two seasons as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Shanahan was the offensive coordinator with the Browns in Gabriel’s rookie season.
It seems unlikely that the 49ers would give up a high second-round pick to try to sign Gabriel away, even given their need for playmakers at wide receiver. If Gabriel doesn’t sign a long-term deal and plays 2017 on a one-year tender, he’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency next year.