All is quiet on free agency front

All is quiet on the free agency front.

Over the first weekend, the Falcons lost three starters – Keith Brooking to Dallas, Michael Boley to New York Giants and Domonique Foxworth to Baltimore.

Safety Lawyer Milloy and defensive end Chauncey Davis are still out there.

The Falcons are clearly taking a low-key approach to free agency.

GM Thomas Dimitroff told us at the combine that the Falcons would not be major players in free agency. They are clearly not going after any top of the line free agents.

We’ll just keep working the phones and see what’s shaking this week.

Eagles’ tight end L.J. Smith’s name keeps coming up, but his agent Brian Mackler hasn’t confirmed anything on him. Mackler was busy getting Foxworth’s deal done. He also has former UGA and Cleveland Browns safety Sean Jones, who had a quiet weekend in the free agency game.

A couple of other names to keep an eye on are Colts linebacker Freddy Keiaho and Buffalo linebacker Angelo Crowell.

It’s been all quiet on the Derrick Brooks’ front, too.

Agent Drew Rosehaus in Miami has Jacksonville defensive end Paul Spicer, who has connections to the staff.

Are you a little disappointed that the Falcons have not make any moves in free agency?

137 comments Add your comment

TLH

March 2nd, 2009
9:25 am

No, Were still rebuilding.

geoff cobb

March 2nd, 2009
9:28 am

I would like to see the Falcons add a strong safety- Jones or Jacksonville’s Sensabaugh would fit nicely. The linebacker corps has been depleted. Smith might get reunited with Peterson who could have two years left.
We only have a few draft picks and there are no guarantees they will pan out. Look at what happened with Jamal Anderson. We need to get a safety, cornerback, two linebackers, a defensive lineman, a tight end and backup offensive line help. You cannot address all that through the draft.

Kurt

March 2nd, 2009
9:29 am

No, not disappointed at all. Just anxious. Our new GM and coach earned my trust last year with the moves that they made and even the ones they didn’t make. Unlike past years, we now have competent football people making the football decisions for the Falcons. All will be fine. Drink the Koolaid people. I have. In TD we trust.

jimmy

March 2nd, 2009
9:35 am

hey d-lo,,,while i hated to see boly and foxworth leave not all is negative,,,we did receive draft choices for the ones that left,,and with davis and milloy out there still to be signed,,,that could be 2 more we receive (according to espn’s winners/losers report). i am just glad this administration doesnt give in to local “pressure” to add former bulldogs and jackets for “sentimental reasons”.

Jerry

March 2nd, 2009
9:45 am

I forgot about the compensated draft picks. What round picks do we get?
A draft pick for Brooking. A draft pick for Boley. A draft pick for Foxy. Maybe 2 more. Smooth move TD. Next year the team should have a little worse record than this year. The rebuilding, the high turnover and the harder schedule will make things tough. If we make the playoffs next year then the following year we will go to the super bowl. With few injuries of course.

hawesg

March 2nd, 2009
9:47 am

Sure, I’m anxious. There are five holes on this team. WLB, SLB, CB, SS and TE. You can’t fill all those holes through the draft. I’d love to see them make one big move for a CB like Bodden or McFadden, but I know they won’t do that. So you might be looking at a defense with a rookie SS and spare parts at CB like Grimes and Hutchins across from Houston and his matador defense.

Since it looks like they might go with Delmas in the first round, they’ll be left with a mediocre OLB pick in the second and a TE like Beckham in the third. Meh. The defense did it with smoke, mirrors and grit last year. And it’s gotten appreciably worse since then.

kd

March 2nd, 2009
9:48 am

We get a 3rd for each (Boley, Brooking and Foxworth). We will get another for Milloy IF we don’t sign comparable players. That could be 4 3rd’s for 2010, which is ammunition to move up as needed.
This year might be a bump in the road, but we’re building- which is not a 1 year process.

hawesg

March 2nd, 2009
9:50 am

Brooking, Foxworth and Boley were unrestricted FAs. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think we get compensation for those unless it’s a late round sandwich pick.

marko

March 2nd, 2009
9:54 am

The pressing needs seem to be linebacker, safety, cornerback and a passing threat at tight end. If Dimitroff can address all those holes through the draft alone I’ll be more impressed with him than I already am. If it were me, I’d want to feel a little more secure at one or more of those areas before the draft. Truth be told, Thomas and Mike likely have a half dozen or so players in mind. They’re just waiting for the asking prices to return from the twilight zone.

brew

March 2nd, 2009
9:54 am

I trust that we know what we are doing and we are on a course of inproving without overspending. Adding players is about more than just talent, it’s also about being the right fit for the team and community. I believe that we are doing our homework and will add the necessary pieces without emptying the Brinks truck.

SeminoleWarrior

March 2nd, 2009
9:56 am

D-Lo, Jimmy is on target here. With the three signings, the Falcons are in line for some compensatory picks this year and possibly next, right?
What we all have to remember is that this is a very uneasy position for the team to be in. We still do not know how much of the cap will have to used on the remainder of the Vick deal so we have to hold cash close at this time. The draft can resolve some of the issues. What we TRUE fans have to remember is that we won a lot of games last year with some LUCK; we were AND are, a very young team that is being built for the future. Let TD and Smitty work the process they started. And in a few year, we will be CONSISTENT contenders and perhaps, a Super Bowl champ. And D-LO, what is the latest on Trey Lewis? If he is not ready to go, Ziggy Hood or Ron Brace move to the top of my board. My suggestion would be that we begin the transition to a 3-4 defense right now for the LB corps in the draft this season sets us up for big time success in the future. Or perhaps, a deal can be made for DT Vince Wilfork, a player TD scouted and drafted in New England who is a UFA after this year. D-LO, what do you think?

Khao$

March 2nd, 2009
10:03 am

From a one year perspective? Yes, I am concerned. I preface my concern by saying “one year.” All last year,even through the winning, the Falcons said they were sticking to the “process.” I doubt very seriously that they thought winning 11 games in the first year of the “process” was in the books. I figure, they planned on being competitive. However, the team exceeded expectations. After winning eleven games, it would be a step back if we had a losing season. And I’m sorry, I don’t see us winning a bunch of games with a bunch of rookies and second year players on defense. Consider this: the first year of the process, we got rid of a bunch of players. However, the biggest players we got rid of were on the offensive side of the ball (Crumpler and Dunn). Sure we got rid of Rod Coleman and DeAngelo Hall. However, Hall ran himself out of town. Had he been a good citizen, he may have been in a Falcon’s uniform. My point? The first year, we got rid of offensive pieces that didn’t fit long term. This year, the process calls for getting rid of defensive players that don’t fit. Thus, Milloy, Brooking, Boley, and even Foxworth were allowed to walk. Long term, I believe Dimitroff is building a winning product. However, in the context of coming off a winning season and building expectation, I concerned that Dimitroff will put a bunch of youngsters on D. Why not? He gave the keys to Matt Ryan last year to lead the offense. Turner was never a starter. Roddy only had one good year and Jenkins was awful up until last year. Baker was pegged to protect Ryan’s blindside. We didn’t have a pass catching tight end. Get the picture? Last year, our offense did things that it wasn’t supposed to do. However, it was very young and very inexperienced. Now, I believe he is doing the same thing with the defense. Long term, it will be to our benefit. In the short term, I’m scared. Again, I’ve never seen a bunch of rookies and second year players be competitive on D. Who knows, Dimitroff may get some cheap players that can provide leadership. However, I can only see him going young next year on D, in the same manner he did on offense.

PMC

March 2nd, 2009
10:14 am

nothing that shocking really, Foxworth was overpriced for what he was though we would have liked to have him back. Boley is a very good player, but not the right fit. Brooking is past his prime and he’s got a better deal for him in Dallas.. so good for him.

The falcons will get some compensatories which is great. Next year will be a small step back but I’m confident they can go 9-7. They aren’t signing big name vets this off season. They are definately going to find some solid vets to bring in and supplant the youth. I have full confidence that TD knows what he’s doing and has a plan.

They know their holes even better than we do. Boy it would be nice to have Owen Daniels lineing up at TE though.

That being said, do your thing TD.

marko

March 2nd, 2009
10:16 am

Tony Gonzalez wants to finish his career playing for a contender. While he’s not the player he once was, in his case that only means that he’s gone from super awesome to plain old awesome. He does’nt need the money at this point he’s pretty much set for life. The guy’s still playing because he wants to be wearing a big gaudy ring. When he shows up at Canton. Dimitroff does’nt need my advice, but if he were to ask it I’d tell him to ask his old buddy Pioli what he wants for Tony.

dredd_one

March 2nd, 2009
10:20 am

Hawesg – Compensatory picks

Compensatory picks are 3 – 7th rounders and are awarded based on a formula that takes into consideration: net loss of FAs, what they ended up signing for, a ranking of that player, etc. (32) I believe are awarded. It looks like the Falcons are stocking 2010 with good mid round picks. Brooking, Boley, and Foxworth all signed for respectable sums. If we end up with a net loss in FAs. Those have a good chance of turning into a 3, 4, 5 or maybe 4,5,6. Very smart play. That way you get something even WITH a UFA. Not help for this year but a LOT of potential depth / hidden gems for next. I like the process.

chc4

March 2nd, 2009
10:26 am

One more note on compensatory draft picks… they cannot be traded. So we can’t use whatever comp picks we receive in a package to move up in the draft.

dledbetter

March 2nd, 2009
10:28 am

THE DEAL ON COMPENSATORY PICKS: Under terms of the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better unrestricted free agents than it acquires in a year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

The picks for this year will be announced later this month at the owner’s meeting.

Falcons should stand to get some picks in the 2010 draft if they keep losing players and don’t sign any major free agents.

Last year the Atlanta Falcons received a third-round compensatory pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. The pick was the No. 35 selection in the third round (No. 98 overall). That pick was used to select safety Thomas DeCoud, who played mostly on special teams last season but figures to get a chance to earn the starting spot vacated by Lawyer Milloy.

Navin Arizona

March 2nd, 2009
10:34 am

Guys, don’t go overboard. We won’t be getting 3 3rd rounders. That’s not how it works.

Comp picks are based on **NET GAINS & LOSSES** in free agency. We don’t get picks just based on who we lose. It’s also based on who we sign. Losing Brooking, Boley & Milloy – all starters – is only part of the equation. If we were not to sign anyone else, then, yes, we might very well net a 3rd rounder or two. But if we bring in players who (a) make more money and (b)start, then those offset our losses.

Additionally, the comp picks are awarded the year *AFTER* your losses. In other words, any compensation we get for these guys won’t come until the 2010 draft.

Navin Arizona

March 2nd, 2009
10:35 am

Oops. Didn’t see Orlando’s post before I posted.

dredd_one

March 2nd, 2009
10:35 am

Compensatory picks – part deux

Again even if they are mid to late rounders. Look what a good front office can do with those. Not all will be hits, but more picks = more options. You give TD and Smith an opportunity to play to their strength..the draft. And don’t forget the other abilites multiple picks give. Trade bait for teams that are trying to unload players before they do become UFAs etc. More chances with people who know what to do with them = good things for Falcons fans.

dredd_one

March 2nd, 2009
10:38 am

The comp picks may not be able to be traded, but they can be kept and our regular draft order ones can. Thereby still giving us options options options.

clthurman

March 2nd, 2009
10:40 am

I thought the compensation picks for the free agents lost this year would be awarded for this year’s draft…it looks like 3 3rd rounders so far. Please correct me if I’m wrong….hope not. I thought we lost the ball when it came to Foxworth who seemed to thrive in our scheme last year. He was young and only had an upside to him. Don’t understand Dimitroff reasoning behind this…if it was money that’s a load….we have zero for a secondary now that is top shelf. I would love to hear this plan.

tom jackson

March 2nd, 2009
10:44 am

I have to admit I have more trust in the current eadership than thse of the past. We lost some quality, we also lost som that were just names we all were fond of. I would like to see a coue of seasoned veeterans in camp to replace the linebackser and defensive backs. As time moves on some quality wll be left on the table and we might pick up a diamond in te ruff. Also we have adequate draft picks and local appeal that there will be plenty of competition. Let the brain thrust work and the boys play. In the end I believe we will have a more than proven group on the field of play at sesons open.

Flappin' Falcon

March 2nd, 2009
10:44 am

No surprises here. The Falcons and many other teams have been quiet in these 1st few days after the FA period kickoff. When you are interested in mid tier free agents, as the Falcons are, you don’t go after anybody too fast. If you go too fast after a mid tier FA their value will get inflated. They will sign a couple FAs when the time is right. I still think they will receive a Compensatory Pick, but I don’t think they are holding off signing FAs so they can get CPs, which are typically very low picks and untradeable picks.
TD & MS have a game plan. I believe they will make solid decisions.

JWS

March 2nd, 2009
10:49 am

Definitely not dissapointed in losing Brooking, Boley, and Milloy. I keep hearing we lost the leaders of our defense. Well, they lead us to the 24th ranked defense last year, yeah, no thanks. I am not sentimental, as you can see.

I am also very happy the Falcons didn’t go out and overpay for players. You don’t see good football teams do that. I believe we will still get some midlevel guys to help out, but ultimately winners are built through the draft.

If we can go out and get a Ronald Bartell, Sean Jones, Angelo Crowell, Paul Spicer, Monty Beisel (not all of these guys obviously)…maybe some guys like this to come in and start, we will be better off then overpaying for Bart Scott or Albert Haynesworth.

Incredulous Reader

March 2nd, 2009
10:50 am

For the last time Ledbetter, the man’s name is Paul SPICER!! There is no ‘h’ in his name. How long have you been covering football?

And why on earth would we be interested in LJ Smith? That makes no sense at all. We can find a better pass-catching TE in the draft for a lot less money.

The only player thus far that I think our GM should be remotely interested in is Jermaine Phillips, S from Tampa, to replace Lawyer Milloy until DeCoud or some other draftee is ready to take over the job.

GSU-Lee

March 2nd, 2009
10:56 am

DOL

What is your take? I am a little worried that they seem to be doing nothing, but at the same time, all the core guys are in place for the birds…and as a fan I learned to trust in Dimitroff and Smith…

Cameron

March 2nd, 2009
11:04 am

Lack of activity does not concern me. I just want to know who we are targeting. I would like to add Sean Jones or Jermaine Phillips. There are real good safeties in the draft, at least not as good as to where they are being projected to be drafted. We can get DTs, TEs, LBs, and CBs in the draft, not safeties. Just don’t overpay, which is probably why we haven’t done anything yet. We will do things on our terms, which is good.

GSU-Lee

March 2nd, 2009
11:10 am

And what a dissappointment Boley turned out to be.

T.C

March 2nd, 2009
11:15 am

Why people keep mentioning that we recieve picks for the players we lost?do your home work there are no picks for unrestricted free agents.

mark

March 2nd, 2009
11:16 am

interesting that lj smith and sean jones share the same agent..
maybe theyre part of the incoming FA class this year, a la Coleman, Hartsock and Hutchins last year…

marko

March 2nd, 2009
11:20 am

Mock drafts are alot of fun. Last year I learned that Matt Ryan was’nt a top ten talent, and Sam Bakers arms were too short. Too bad Dimitroff does’nt read mock drafts; then he’d be as smart as Mel Kiper. You’ve got to admire a guy that only has to work one day a year.

chump Change

March 2nd, 2009
11:23 am

We may not look like a discount team,but our moves in FA give us away.Look out NFC south We’er falling fast.Back to back winning seasons gone by the wayside.

BLACK AND RED DAWG

March 2nd, 2009
11:25 am

JUST FIVE NAMES ON MY WISH LIST ALL CAN BE HAD 1)JAMES BUTLER(SAFETY)FROM GIANTS 2)ANGELO CROWELL (LB)BUFFALO 3)TRAI ESSEX(OT)STEELERS 4)TONY CURTIS (TE) COWBOYS 5)DWAN EDWARDS(DT)RAVENS OR KALIMBA EDWARDS (DE).

tryanx

March 2nd, 2009
11:35 am

I am a little anxious. I am not so upset with the losses of boley or brokking but the loss of foxworth was a bitter pill. That being said. I am not that worried because we had five rookies start last year and they were fine. I would like to know what these players that have been starter on special teams can do when given the oppertunity to start.

Everybody keep saying how hard the schedule is next year but lets look at it. AFC East, are we really scared of Buffalo, and the Jets? We have a chance aginst Miami and that leaves New England. The NFC East, are we scared of the Redskins and Dallas? We were one bad call away from beating the Eagles and until the Giants get a deep threat they a very beatable. I am not sure what everyone is soworried about the schedule for.

Bottom line I have faith in the front office and to be honest as long as that albatross vick contract is hanging around our throats we are cash short as far as the cap goes.

TD Please draft Clay Mathews and maybe Asher Allen.

welikebaseball2

March 2nd, 2009
11:37 am

SEKOU: Yeah, I’m a little disappointed. It’s not like we get 2 picks in the 1st round. I know starters don’t necessarily have to be found in the first round…but trying to find an immediate-impact plalyer, much less a starter, outside of the 1st round can be a bit of a reach. If we focus on a safety for the first round & we haven’t picked up a cornerback or linebacker in free agency, how do you then replace 2 additional starters with 2nd & 3rd round picks? Same applies if we pick up a linebacker or cornerback in the 1st round. I’m not saying we have to load up on free agents, but I don’t understand how we can anticipate replacing 3 starters with 1st, 2nd, & 3rd round picks.

welikebaseball2

March 2nd, 2009
11:38 am

DOL: Oops, didn’t mean to call you Sekou!!! My bad :-)

jfalcon

March 2nd, 2009
11:41 am

I trust our falcon braintrust but i dont like the idea of drafting for need. I also dont like overpaying for FAs but getting maybe angelo crowell and lj smith on one year rebounding contracts and maybe a versatile safety like sean jones who fits our system of interchangeable safeties. That way we can draft the best player on our board and not reach for needs.

Ryder

March 2nd, 2009
11:44 am

What some morons like chump Change doesn’t understand is what Atlanta is doing is simply smart business. This team is still rebuilding and are setting themselves up for developing a very good, young team in the future.

As far as the defense is concerned, Coach Smith wants his type of players who will play within the defensive scheme. Great franchises like the Steelers and Patriots don’t make big splashes in free agency and that’s why they are always playing in January. Atlanta is looking to reach that point.

As long as they use this offseason to build on both the offensive and defensive lines they will be fine in the long run.

Ernest

March 2nd, 2009
11:50 am

I’m not disappointed, partly because I understand how the market works. After the ‘big ticket’ free agents are signed, the ‘working class’ free agents begin looking for deals. Hopefully the Falcons can pick up good players within the realms of the budget set by TD.

At this point, he’s earned my trust with respect to his talent evaluation and knowing how available players will fit into the overall team scheme. This is a building process and ‘overspending’ is something we should not do at this stage of the game.

GATORZONE

March 2nd, 2009
11:53 am

We need to go after Jermaine Phillips.

JWS, I agree. No sentiment in football. GSU-Lee, what is your take on that? After 07, I thought we had a great future player on our hands. Why would he perform better for that sorry-@$$ed Petrino than our new coaches?

JMar

March 2nd, 2009
11:53 am

For those still asking questions about compensatory picks, understand that a) we don’t get those picks until next year, and b) those picks are based entirely on how those players perform NEXT SEASON. If Brooking gets hurt and misses half the season, if Milloy doesn’t sign somewhere, if Foxworth is relegated to nickleback – all of these things will reduce the value of our picks. Also, signing ANY free agents can seriously affect our picks. We got a third rounder for having lost Patrick Kerney, but almost didn’t get ANYTHING because we had signed Lewis Sanders; he just barely missed the cut as a valuable free agent signing.

GATORZONE

March 2nd, 2009
11:56 am

Hey, chumpchange have you seen what is going on down here in Tampa? Talk about running a franchise on a shoestring… Falcons are making smart moves building a solid foundation.

AtlSouthside

March 2nd, 2009
11:57 am

The Falcons have messed up by #1 not resigning Milloy, Boley & Foxworth, and #2 relying so much on the draft. We only have a limited amount of draft picks, and the worst thing the Falcons can do is go out next season with the 4th toughest schedule and expect good results with such a young team. Vets belong on the defensive side of the ball. Through free agency, we could have at least signed some decent LBs or a CB to replace the ones that we lost…

I can guarantee that we will not be 12-4 next season.

jimmy

March 2nd, 2009
11:58 am

ok,,it wasnt espn,,,it was SI.com http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/football/nfl/02/27/signings/1.html

Saturday’s News
Lose now, win later

It’s too early to determine the winners in free agency, but one team that bears watching is the Atlanta Falcons — even though they have no plans to sign a prominent player.

The Falcons recently released cornerback Domonique Foxworth and linebackers Michael Boley and Keith Brooking because none figured prominently in their plans; and thanks to other teams’ interest in the players, Atlanta stands to garner three third-round compensatory draft choices in 2010.

Compensatory picks are awarded if it is deemed that a team lost more and/or better players than they acquired during the previous year’s free-agent period. With Foxworth getting $16.5 million in guarantees from the Ravens, Boley securing at least $10 million in guarantees from the Giants and Brooking receiving an undisclosed amount from the Cowboys, the Falcons could be the ultimate winner by doing nothing, or very little, in free agency.

In fact, Atlanta could secure a fourth compensatory pick if former starting safety Lawyer Milloy signs and produces with a new team. Talk about working the system.
– Jim Trotter (6:49 p.m. ET)

AtlSouthside

March 2nd, 2009
11:58 am

Falcons need to sign Shawn Springs

bigeasy830

March 2nd, 2009
12:07 pm

They should have anted-up to keep Foxworth, he is a very good cover corner. He was almost lockdown last year, he will missed by that defense. The Ravens got a steal by signing him for that price compared to the money the big name corners are getting. D-Hall got 54 mill and Foxworth is definitely a better man to man coverage corner than him. Great post by KHAO$. But I don’t think the youth movement will win against next years schedule. That schedule is brutal, one glaring weak spot may be Tampa. But, you need vets that have been through the wars in the trenches with you against that schedule. 11 wins in 2008 was great but 6 wins or less in 09 will be a huge step back, the fans in Atlanta are impatient and the dome was not truely sold out last year, many tickets were bought by businesses and given away as part of promotions. 6 wins or less and the fans will start screaming for heads to roll and Arthur Blank will start medling again. If the Falcons go 8-8 next year against that schedule, they will be a contender in 2010. That is why I have blogged if they go 8-8 I will stay off you Falcon fans blogs in 2010.

robdawg08

March 2nd, 2009
12:07 pm

After coming off an 11 win season, this team should not regress and claim its rebuilding. Sure we have a 2nd year QB in Ryan but why would R.White,M.Jenkins,M.Turner,etc. want to be a part of a rebuilding process ? These guys are in their prime right now. It is smart to build for the future but how can you expect fans to support a team next year coming off 11 wins that is gutting the team of its veterans ? Boley and Foxworth were good players that will be missed. If these 5 free agents are replaced by better free agents then there’s a good chance you compete for a Super Bowl run next year. I hate reading all these people saying “they are building for the future”. TD proved he is capable last year. But if he expects only this year’s draft to replace these 5 players immediately then he is crazy. The good teams win now and build for the future. I don’t want a tight-waded GM that won’t go after the good free agents that can help you continue winning NOW. I’ve read all negative comments on Keith Brooking and its sad. This guy remained a Falcon for 11 years and was the only reliable player on defense for those 11 years. He has slowed down for sure but he just signed a 3-year deal in Dallas. He moved on to teams that want to win NOW along with Boley,Foxworth,Milloy,etc. because of this REBUILDING. I don’t want to win in 4 years. I want to win next year just as we did LAST year.

AtlSouthside

March 2nd, 2009
12:11 pm

I agree wit RobDawg

robdawg08

March 2nd, 2009
12:19 pm

If he is banking solely on the draft to build this team all he will be doing is making good players of guys that will jump at free agency as soon as they can. Players aren’t going to be satisfied with chump change while veterans that they are better than already are making millions. The Expos tried this same strategy in MLB and all that happened was they built top players (Pedro,Vladdy,R. Johnson,L.Walker,C. Floyd) for the Yankees and other free spending teams. I can’t believe a team coming off 11 wins is busting up the team and rebuilding. I’m going to be a Carolina Panthers fan next year, I think. I like teams that want to win now and later. Not just later. I hope I’m wrong and maybe the Falcons will sign some good free agents.