There’s nothing free about free agency.
When the clock hit midnight, the Falcons were not innocent bystanders this season.
The Falcons have stated that they plan to be fiscally responsible during free agency, but were in negotiations with free agent cornerback Dunta Robinson, who played at Clarke Central in Athens and South Carolina, shortly after free agency begin. He was generally considered the top unrestricted player at his position.
Talks went into the early morning and are set to pick up later on Friday.
Robinson, who turns 27 in April, is a former first round pick (10th overall in 2004).
Houston gave him the franchise tag last season, but elected to let Robinson enter free agency this year. He would have commanded near $12 million for next season if they’d slapped the franchise tag on him again.
By making a move to sign Robinson, the Falcons are hoping to improve their pass defense which ranked 28th in the league last season, giving up 241.9 yards per game. The Falcons also re-signed cornerback Brian Williams on Thursday.
REDMAN SIGNED: Falcons quarterback Chris Redman signed a two-year contract worth $5.6 million.
NFL RELEASES LIST OF FALCONS’ UFAs: Wide receiver Marty Booker, Linebacker Tony Gilbert, running back Verron Haynes, long snapper Mike Schneck (announced his retirement), running back Aaron Stecker and long snapper Joe Zelenka.
WILLIAMS RE-SIGNED: The Falcons re-signed cornerback Brian Williams to a one-year contract on Thursday, his agent confirmed. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
“He ’s very happy to be back with the Falcons,” said Jordan Feagan, Williams’ agent.
The Falcons signed Williams on Sept. 6 after he was cut from Jacksonville. He was brought in to help stabilize the cornerback position after they had struggled in the preseason.
Williams, who turns 31 in July, won the starting position at left cornerback. He moved down inside to the slot in nickel situations.
Williams started five games before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament against Chicago on Oct. 18. He was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 20.
He played for Falcons head coach Mike Smith while a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2006 through 2008. He started his career with the Minnesota Vikings.
Williams, who is still recovering from his knee surgery but is expected to be medically cleared by training camp, has played in 112 games and made 98 starts.
SCHNECK RETIRES: Former Pro Bowl special teams player Mike Schneck, the team’s long snapper, retired on Thursday.
Schneck played 12 years in the league with the Pittsburgh Steelers (199-2004), Buffalo Bills (2005-2006) and for the Falcons (2007-2009). Last season, he went on injured reserve after playing with broken ribs.
He was selected to a Pro Bowl in 2005 as a member of the Buffalo Bills.