The Falcons continued to address some of their contract situations in what will be a busy offseason for players and head coach Mike Smith, who’s set to get a contract extension likely upon his return from the Pro Bowl.
Falcons linebacker Robert James was signed to a two-year contract, the team announced on Tuesday.
James, 5-11, 224 pounds, was originally drafted by the Falcons in the fifth round (138th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft. James spent most of the 2010 season on Atlanta’s practice squad.
He spent the 2008 season on injured reserve and was a member of the Falcons practice squad before being elevated to the active roster for the season finale at Tampa Bay in 2009.
The Falcons signed seven of their practice squad players to reserve/future contracts on Jan. 18.
They signed tight end Marquez Branson, center Rob Bruggeman, wide receiver Tim Buckley, wide receiver Brandyn Harvey, defensive end Emmanuel Stephens, wide receiver Andy Strickland and guard Jose Valdez.
The big name in this group is Valdez, who’s been developing nicely according to offensive line coach Paul Boudreau. After two full seasons on the practice squad, he’s expected to make a strong roster bid next season.
The Falcons are not going to let Smith go into next season in the last year of his original four-year contract, which was worth between $8 and $10 million.
The Falcons also have a list of 15 free agents. Here are the prospective free agents:
Justin Blalock (left guard, 4 years), Matt Bryant (PK, 9 years), Tyson Clabo (RT, 6 years), Harvey Dahl (RG, 4 years), Brian Finneran (WR, 10 years), Brent Grimes (CB, 3 years), Michael Koenen (P, 6 years), Trey Lewis (DT, 3 years), Stephen Nicholas (LB, 4 years), Jerious Norwood (RB, 5 years), Michael Peterson (LB, 12 years, Will Svitek (LT, 5 years), Eric Weems (WR, 3 years), Brian Williams, (CB, 9 years) and Coy Wire (LB, 9 years).
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Falcons beat blog