As far as Gabriel is concerned, he is content to stay in Atlanta.
“Of course, I want to be a Falcon forever,” Gabriel recently told ESPN.com. “Just the camaraderie and the group, from Dan Quinn to the owner. And everyone has bought into what we have here. Yes, I want to be a Falcon forever.”
Although an extension for cornerback Desmond Trufant is the team’s top priority, general manager Thomas Dimitroff said last week that Gabriel is another player deserving of a new contract.
“It’s going to be positive for him,” Dimitroff said of Gabriel. “Yes, we want him back as well.”
Atlanta has until March 9 to extend a contract tender designed to discourage the other 31 teams from signing Gabriel to an offer sheet.
The most likely tender is the second-round level worth just under $3 million. Under that scenario, any team planning to sign Gabriel would have to surrender a second-round pick to the Falcons.
Gabriel was the waiver pickup of the year, recording a league-best 139.9 passer rating when targeted last season. The speedster broke free for a game-breaking play of 40 or more yards in eight of 13 regular-season games.
Gabriel is certainly talented enough to lure potential poachers next month. Between the likely second-round price tag and the organization’s commitment to maintaining the offensive nucleus, though, he’s unlikely to leave Atlanta.