There is no “Free” in Free Agency

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff promised that the team would not be emotionally driven when making some tough decisions this offseason.

The team’s laser-focused evaluations have pushed several players into free agency including longtime local legend Keith Brooking.

Also, out on the free agency market are cornerback Domonique Foxworth, safety Lawyer Milloy, linebacker Michael Boley, defensive end Chauncey Davis.

The team is clearly planning to rebuild the defense.

Milloy and Foxworth must be replaced in the secondary.

Brooking and Boley, both of the outside linebackers are exploring other opportunities.

On the line, nose tackle Grady Jackson is also a free agent.

That’s five of the 11 starters. However, linebacker Coy Wire, who started for Boley late in the season is set to sign a two-year deal on March 1st.

The good news on offense is that they have the “Bruise Brothers” – right guard Harvey Dahl and right tackle Tyson Clabo – back. Both were restricted free agents.

Here my list of five possible free agent targets for the Falcons:

RON BARTELL, CB, Rams: Could be a nice replacement for Foxworth. He went to Howard University, so we know he’s smart.

MIKE BROWN, S, Bears: Savvy veteran who could stabilize the unit.

L.J. SMITH, TE, Eagles: A decent pass-catcher, but would have to get reacquainted with blocking. (My man PhillyDawg told me that the next block he throws will be his first. That won’t flow well with offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.)

DRE BLY, CB, Broncos: The veteran cornerback market could be a nice option.

SEAN JONES, S, Browns: Former Georgia Bulldog is the type of combo safety the Falcons covet.

Also, we’ll check on defensive end PAUL SPICHER, 33, who spent time with head coach Mike Smith and defensive line coach Ray Hamilton in Jacksonville.

So do you like the Falcons’ moves? Where is Brooking going to land? Would you welcome him back if the free agency thing doesn’t work out? How can they let Foxworth go? Share your list of free agents you’d like to see the Falcons pursue.

198 comments Add your comment

Sarah B

February 27th, 2009
9:44 am

Brooking needed to go, sorry to see Foxworth go he did a great job last year. If free agency doesn’t work out Brooking could come back at a very reduced rate and be a good back up. I’m already ready for OTA’s.

Brett Johnson

February 27th, 2009
9:54 am

I think Brooking will be back after the market puts a price on him. He’s not going to garner a lot of big offers but maybe several short, small ones. Losing Foxworth would be a big loss, unless they are expecting Houston and Jackson to be CB’s 1 and 2. I would like to see the Falcons add Sean Jones to play along side Erik Coleman and maybe pick up a veteran defensive lineman on a small deal. Everything else will be up to Dimitroff’s draft magic.

Pi$$onaDAWG

February 27th, 2009
9:59 am

Keith I love you and I think if you don’t play next year would you consider coaching at Ga. State with Bill Curry? Signed: Palmetto resident, Tech fan, and lover of Respectful and Caring Pro Athletes.

doodoobailey

February 27th, 2009
9:59 am

Brooking will test the market…the market will let him know that he needs to re-sign for leage minimum in Atlanta and be a core guy, or retire with pride.

Mike

February 27th, 2009
9:59 am

This list of possible free agents is retarted. Does D.Orlando actually liten to what Dimitroff says?? Mike Brown and Dre Bly are not younger guys and certainly are going to ask for significant contracts, so count them out. LJ Smith can’t block so I’m not sure why he’s even on the list. Sean Jones looks like the only decent possiblity….nice list D.

Mitun

February 27th, 2009
10:01 am

What about S Roy Williams cause Dallas is wanting to trade him

Falcon_Lifer

February 27th, 2009
10:02 am

Thank you! Thank you! Please don’t let the prescious Home Town Hero back! He is un-wanted!

dl

February 27th, 2009
10:06 am

Let’s go after Jermaine Phillips from Tampa Bayy. He is a UGA grad so we may get a hometown discount?

hatfieldgeoff

February 27th, 2009
10:08 am

Brooking at his best was never one of the top 20 linebackers in the NFL. He was a hustle guy that was a little small and a little slow and that has become even more pronounced the last 2-3 years. His play down the stretch this year proved he had to go. Good Luck to him, but the defense we need can’t include him.

Deep South Falcon

February 27th, 2009
10:11 am

I cannot believe that they are going to let Foxworth go!! He is the only legit cover corner we have in our secondary. Houston gets beat all the time, and looks lost the other half. They really should just go ahead and release him and find someone else to tandem with Foxworth. Whoever, suggests Roy Williams as a capable replacement for Milloy needs to watch more football. The reason Milloy was not resigned was because he cannot cover man to man when needed, Roy Williams is being trade because he cannot cover either!! Sean Jones would be a great pick up! He is still young, and he played for the Browns…would you play hard for that difunctional team. Get him with Mike Smith and who coached him in college Van Gorder, and I promise he will be in the pro-bowl. Secondary in my mind is most important area of need, D-line second. KEEP FOXWORTH-GREAT COVER CORNER

Dan

February 27th, 2009
10:11 am

Like to see them get Foxworth or Bryant McFadden for CB or both. Would like to see them get Sean Jones or Jermaine Phillips at Safety.
Would like to get Shaun Cody a young DT that also organizes charities would fit well with Arthur Blank. Jon Stinchcomb for the Offensive Line

VICK SUPPORTER 2

February 27th, 2009
10:13 am

HOW ABOUT THAT BUST D. HALL SIGNING A 70 MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT LAST YEAR AND THEN ANOTHER 54 MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT THIS YEAR. GUESS BUSTS GET REWARDED :)

HOW DARE THE WORLD NOT LISTEN TO FALCONS FANS TELLING HOW USELESS D HALL IS :)

Also a Dawg Fan

February 27th, 2009
10:16 am

We need D.Foxworth… I like J.Phillips as Strong Safety… It’s past time for Brooking. I’ve never seen him cover a back out of the backfield and he will make a tackle..15yds down the field..Don’t let the DOOR KNOB HIT YA WHERE THE GOOD LORD SPLIT YA..

Collegeparkguy

February 27th, 2009
10:19 am

Finally Brooking jeresys 75% off lol…I liked keith as a person, really great guy, i mean it but he was a good tackler but always 2 steps behind on a play. He should be thankful he stayed around for as long as he did. I like wire though a better LB than brooking… The “All American” as he has been labeled by certain fans is finally gone

rainman

February 27th, 2009
10:25 am

For the time being we are trusting TD and Blank to assemble a team that will compete for a championship. They will find the honeymoon short lived if the status quo is acceptable or if there are any signs of regression. Every other team is working very hard to improve and we have to hope our FO can compete with anybody. Blank is one of the richest owners — I hope he is willing to spend whatever it takes to bring Atlanta a super bowl.

Clayton

February 27th, 2009
10:28 am

After last year we can’t really doubt Dimitroff and Coach Smith. From a fans point of view its a shame D Foxworth has to go, he is the only player mentioned that I believe the Falcons will miss. We all know that Chris Houston is no number 1 and for that matter maybe not even a number 2 cornerback. I read the Falcons have 20M of cap room, maybe they are being smart and saving for and most likey when they have to release Vick, another good draft like they had last year and they should be ok

scottinjaxbeach

February 27th, 2009
10:29 am

I can all but guarantee you that Paul Spicer will wind up in Atlanta along side his former coaches. I think Spicer is about on empty but he has one more year left in him and he would be a good fit.

SJones and JPhillips would also make ideal fits for the rebuilding secondary. I still believe that they should pursue Foxworth but he maybe asking more money than he is worth. I would want to see another year out of him before I offered him a big contract.

hallelujah

February 27th, 2009
10:31 am

‘probably a very nice guy, one that you would want to have a brew with, but watch some game films and focus only on him. Just not the butt-kicking guy many thought he was.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 27th, 2009
10:31 am

HERE ARE a couple updates:

Brian Mackler, Foxworth’s agent, sent a text earlier this morning telling the AJC that his client is set to visit with the Baltimore Ravens.

Looks like Boley is headed to the New York Gaints, according to the Newark Star Ledger.

Http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2009/02/source_freeagent_lb_boley_to_v.html

MIKE: Glad you enjoyed my list!!! Don’t sleep on the old DBs Bly and Brown. Give me your list.

RedTailHawk

February 27th, 2009
10:34 am

Don’t understand letting Foxworth go unless he wanted huge money. TD has had only one draft here and admittedly did a great job. He has me on the edge of my seat with this one already. Looks like we are truly rebuilding on D. I’ll drink the kool-aid for now. It certainly is not gonna be dull. GO BIRDS.

Ken Strickland lives in his mom's basement

February 27th, 2009
10:37 am

There you go, Ken Strickland, you freaking idiot. The Falcons have spoken. NO ONE CARES THAT BROOKING LED THE TEAM IN TACKLES BECAUSE WHEN YOU PAY SOMEONE 9 BILLION DOLLARS THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO DO MORE THAN JUST TACKLE.

THE DAYS OF ARTHUR BLANK BEING AN IDIOT AND FORKING OVER MILLIONS TO PLAYERS JUST BECAUSE HE THINKS THEY’RE GREAT GUYS IS OVER, AND THANK GOD.

NO MORE PEERLESS PRICE, WARRICK DUNN, MICHAEL VICK AND BROOKING CONTRACTS.

DWR in Atlanta

February 27th, 2009
10:38 am

No reason to deal Keith to free agency, put him in a lesser role. Furthermore, the press is summing up his career on one play in last years playoff game vs. the Cardinals. He deserves far more than a bad decision on one play.

BB1

February 27th, 2009
10:39 am

To all you Brooking haters and “Dawg Fans”, be happy…. he’s gone. Hopefully you can convince the Falcons to sign up every Georgia player available thru free agency and then, maybe just then you all will smile. There is a reason the Falcons haven’t signed players when they came out of Georgia, think about it. With all the Georgia players you would like to have on the team, the Falcons should be able to compete in the 2nd tier of the SEC, but would never make it to the upper echelon of the NFL. All you great soothsayers have your wish, forget about Brooking, be greatful you now have a journeyman outside linebacker as a starter in the place of your leading tackler for 8 years…nice move.

CDW

February 27th, 2009
10:47 am

DOL,
Don’t you think the Falcons should pursue LB Bart Scott (although I read hes about to sign with the Jets and his former D coord is now coaching there)? That would be a good LB team of Lofton and Scott.

DEFalconFan

February 27th, 2009
10:47 am

Brooking was a great player, but great players get older, lose a step. On a rebuilding team, which, make no mistake the Falcons still are, young is needed. A new coach needs to be able to mold players, not reprogram them. Bring on the young hardnosed, ball hawks to learn the system and thrive under Mike Smith. Just please avoid LJ Smith, go for Jared Cook in the Draft. In free agency, look for Jim Leonhard from Baltimore. He is 26 and was an understated leader on a tough Baltimore Defense.

Hollywould

February 27th, 2009
10:55 am

Bly is nothing but overrated. Mike Brown too injury prone. I still think we have a chance with Foxworth. It was time for Brooking to go.
Who cares about D. Hall? Damn, VS2 everytime you say something it is either wrong or stupid. How was your Hall in Oakland? Just like people
who know football tried to tell you. Let the redskins spend all their money on Hall and Haynesworth. I love it as the Redskins come to the dome this year. Hall will get torched again(as usual)

Cheesemaster 09

February 27th, 2009
10:58 am

When it’s time to go it’s time to go. Hometown hero or not, the dude is a liability on the field at this point. I’m just saying, what if someone younger, faster, and smarter had been in on that 3rd and 16 against the Cardinals? He may have racked up the tackles, but his tackle numbers are less impressive when you realize how many of them were made catching someone downfield that should not have gotten there to begin with. So long and good luck.

GATORZONE

February 27th, 2009
10:59 am

Falcons should have kept Foxworth. I think they should make a run on Jermaine Phillips as well. He is a good player w/potential to become great, he just needs to stay healthy. I look for Houston to really have a good year. His seasoning took place last 2 and he will step it up this year.
Trust TD and Smith, they will make the right moves!

Go Falcons!

TheManMike

February 27th, 2009
10:59 am

DHall was given a large contract last year, and look where he went with it. end of discussion.

Brooking – Good luck in FA.

Boley – Good luck in NY.

Foxworth – See ya in Balti!

All you ans talking about all these players we should pick up, filling every D role, haha….TD said specifically we would not be making a big splash in FA….so, dont look for ALL our needs being met in FA…hehe…too funny.

TheManMike

February 27th, 2009
11:01 am

Look for our other guys…David Irons, Chevis Jackson, Coy Wire, Stephen Nicolas etc. to really be pushed to the forefront….with a few FA and Draftees to supplement

Brandon

February 27th, 2009
11:02 am

Brooking is too slow and must go.

RED-CLAY

February 27th, 2009
11:06 am

That’s the best move yet. He was the most overrated Falcon of all-time. I loved his passion but, passion never makes plays.

JG

February 27th, 2009
11:07 am

How bout this Lineup?
Bryant McFadden CB
Chevis Jackson CB
Jermaine Phillips Safety
Eric Coleman Safety
John Abraham DE
Jonathan Babinauex DT
Trey Lewis DT, Vance Walker DT
Kroy Bierman DE / Jamal Anderson DE
Curtis Lofton LB,
Stephen Nichols LB,
and Clay Matthews LB,

We can’t fix it all in one year, Look at another Linebacker next year and DE next year to replace Anderson. GOOD BYE Anderson!

GATORZONE

February 27th, 2009
11:07 am

What about Chauncey Davis? I would have loved to see him return… DOL, do we have a chance with him?

Cybed

February 27th, 2009
11:08 am

Sad to see Brook go but this is “a business” Thanks to Brook for playing as hard as he could as long as he could . His drive WILL be missed.

lionsfan

February 27th, 2009
11:12 am

Dre Bly is all hype, no production.

Sportznutt23

February 27th, 2009
11:16 am

Spicer would be a good option because of his days under Mike Smith, but is there any talk on Mike Peterson?? No one has mentioned him at all… and you know he’s not resigning in Jacksonville. He was great under Smith, why dont we bring him in here?

JG

February 27th, 2009
11:18 am

Chancey’s Agent is trying to get him a starting gig, and as long as we have Anderson, It won’t happen. Petrino left us, and drafted some winners for us. Wierd, Two Arkansas players drafted by Petrino? I wonder if that helped him get the job?

Tapate50

February 27th, 2009
11:20 am

Its SPICER… and he is exactly what we need. Down year last year but a vet DE with a unreal motor.

They have picked up LJ Smith already per Rotoworld.

GATORZONE

February 27th, 2009
11:22 am

Good Point JG, that is rather Ironic!
I still think Houston will be a good player, but as for Anderson…B-U-S-T!

Tapate, thanks for the update. I think that will be a good addition. what do you guys think?

JG

February 27th, 2009
11:27 am

We need a blocking and recieving tightend. There is a reason Philadelphia got rid of him. He doesn’t block, There are too many tightends in this draft. It is deep and those kids are young and hungry.They are also not leaving Philly with a attitude. Waste of money we could spend on a safety.

Mac

February 27th, 2009
11:30 am

Hey, folks, the Falcons haven’t lost Foxworth, yet. I’d like to see them add a really good DB in the draft and maybe pick up another in free agency. Hope they can get Davis re-signed. I don’t trust Boley anymore and think he will sign elsewhere.

Sportznutt23

February 27th, 2009
11:31 am

I agree JG… No to L.J.

Way too many TE in this draft, Pettigrew, Coffman, Cook…etc.

Use the money on DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE!!!

Mac

February 27th, 2009
11:31 am

Also, as I’ve written before, please address tight end. Don’t ever want to see another pass thrown in the direction of Marcus Pollard.

Parkview Power

February 27th, 2009
11:32 am

BYE BYE BROOKING!!! FINALLYYYY!!!!! GET JAMAL ANDERSON GONE NEXT!!!! We need foxworth!

Character

February 27th, 2009
11:37 am

Bad move Falcons…lose your leadership on D. Good Luck Keith.

shannyeight

February 27th, 2009
11:38 am

i like the idea of sean jones being with the falcons…and spicer too…if the falcons could get those 2, they wouldnt have to address too much in the draft…as far as TE, i’d go with jameel cook or chase coffman…i’ve seen l.j. drop too many “on the money” passes…

D3

February 27th, 2009
11:40 am

TD is holding true to his word and I love it. We appreciate everything KB has done for this organization & city, but its time to move on. Look at the best franchises, Patriots-Steelers, they cut them loose when they feel they have to overpay them too deep in their age. Patriots let Rodney Harrison go as we speak. Emotion has to be taken out to be successful in the NFL.

Well, it looks as though the staff thinks enough of Chevis Jackson that he can take over as the #2 CB, and a returning Von Hutchins can take over the nickel, which I can understand. Would’ve loved to keep Foxworth but maybe he was asking too much.

Letting Foxworth go means they probably plan to spend a 5th rd pick (Asher Allen anyone?)or so on a corner. I can’t fathom they will go after another top-tier corner like Bryant McFadden or Dre Bly. They may decide to grab a second-tier DB like Barlett from the Rams to shore up the secondary. TD likes getting those second-tier role players. Last year he picked up Hartsock & Coleman which served us well and didn’t break the bank. Finally, we have a GM who knows what the H he’s doing. Compare that to the Redskins. Making Haynesworth the highest paid player in the NFL ($40 Million Guaranteed) and D.Hall the highest paid CB, are you kidding me?

Just read that the Falcons placed a call to DE Antonio Smith, who’s 27 or 28. This means they may be considering on pushing Jamaal Anderson inside, which I’d love. They should add one of the following: DE Antonio Smith, S Sean Jones, or S Jermaine Phillips. Filling S, 2 OLB’s, DT, & TE through the draft will be impossible.

drmondo

February 27th, 2009
11:44 am

Brooking was a great player who lost a step or two. Hopefully he’ll test the free agency waters and then sign with ATL. We could use him as more of a backup/LB player-coach. His value now isn’t what he does on the field but what he can teach the younger guys on the team.
DOL, why didn’t the team cut DE Anderson? He’s been a real bust so what is his value to the team?

Poor McKay

February 27th, 2009
11:44 am

DOL, is Chris Houston a sure-fire lock to keep his job? Why not try to go after two experienced CBs?

Also, any word on Trey Lewis?