Falcons sign Robert ‘The Beast’ James to a two-year deal

Robert "The Beast" James gives chase in an exhibition game against Jacksonville on Sept. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

Robert "The Beast" James gives chase in an exhibition game against Jacksonville on Sept. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

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

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107 comments Add your comment

JB FALCON

January 25th, 2011
1:44 pm

DOL, I thought William Moore was the “beast”?

uga_b

January 25th, 2011
1:45 pm

DOL, do you think this has any bearing on wheter or not Peterson is resigned?

SHADETREE

January 25th, 2011
1:46 pm

SHADETREE

January 25th, 2011
1:52 pm

I sure am still disappointed about the exit.

It’s the only game in 3 years where I saw the Falcons were not really prepared and ready to play. We need a stud wideout, at least 2 defensive linemen, a cornerback, safety and need to let Matt Ryan call his own plays.

I would like to see us spread out wide and then run and when we are 2 tightends throw a little. While Mularkey has developed Ryan we need to go to the next step. I think Ryan can handle the play calling. Even with an improved offense it is the defense that will win us the games. A good line with pressure can ease the secondary some. Dunta Robinson was terrible. Didn’t see no shut down there.

Clayton

January 25th, 2011
1:52 pm

Dare I say…..First.

We defnitely need to have coach Smith re-upped before training camp.

joewhite

January 25th, 2011
1:56 pm

Go job falcons i love robert james hope he can get on the field.

Tosh.No

January 25th, 2011
1:57 pm

Dunta Robinson was terrible this year, maybe he had some sense knocked out of him when he gave Desean Jackson that shot early in the year and got a concussion. But yea, wasn’t worth the money in my opinion.

fanATicaL

January 25th, 2011
2:01 pm

It would be nice if they checked some of the other prominent free agents.Like NAsomgha,CBailey or RSeymour.Maybe even VJackson or MFloyd .

cajdawg

January 25th, 2011
2:02 pm

5-11, 224…and we wonder why this team isn’t physical…

Tosh.No

January 25th, 2011
2:03 pm

Bailey would be sweet, but he may be getting too old. We definately could use another DE, cause we can’t seem to develop one, and Abraham only has 1-2 years left in him. An actual shut down corner though would be nice.

Football Chic

January 25th, 2011
2:06 pm

@ Tosh.No Dunta is a nice cover corner. He didn’t have a big year in inceptions but he didn’t get torched either. He was pretty solid. Quarterbacks also don’t throw to his side of the field. He is respected by them. He will have a better year next season. We need some safety help and another shut down cormer to shore up our secondary.

Peter

January 25th, 2011
2:21 pm

Justin Blalock (left guard, 4 years) – Resign, i think
Matt Bryant (PK, 9 years) – Resign, 1 yr
Tyson Clabo (RT, 6 years) – Goodbye
Harvey Dahl (RG, 4 years) – Resign, 3 yrs
Brian Finneran (WR, 10 years) – Goodbye
Brent Grimes (CB, 3 years) – Resign – 3 yrs
Michael Koenen (P, 6 years) – Goodbye
Trey Lewis (DT, 3 years) – Goodbye
Stephen Nicholas (LB, 4 years) – Resign – 2 yrs
Jerious Norwood (RB, 5 years) – Goodbye
Michael Peterson (LB, 12 years – Goodbye
Will Svitek (LT, 5 years) – Goodbye
Eric Weems (WR, 3 years) – Resign – 2 yrs
Brian Williams, (CB, 9 years) – Resign – 2 yrs
Coy Wire (LB, 9 years). – Goodbye

Ted Striker

January 25th, 2011
2:22 pm

There are lot of guys with special teams roles on that list.

ToccoaBird

January 25th, 2011
2:27 pm

we cant allow Weems, Koenen , Dahl or Bryant to get away

jay

January 25th, 2011
2:34 pm

It’s going to be an interesting offseason.

GT

January 25th, 2011
2:34 pm

They need to keep the OLs, Nicholas, Weems, Koenen, Grimes and probably Williams. Everyone else expendable.

Delta

January 25th, 2011
2:36 pm

Any chance at all that they resign Norwood? He is the explosive skill player we so badly need, but he can’t seem to stay on the field.

SirReal

January 25th, 2011
2:38 pm

I’d keep Grimes, Weems, Nicholas, Bryant, Blalock, and Dahl. Bon voyage to everyone else. Finn, you served the Birds well. Norwood, we never really saw you bc of injury. Brian Williams…you’re old and can’t tackle Qbs when they are right in front of you. Mike Pete….thanks for schooling the young guns…enjoy your pension sir.

Smitty

January 25th, 2011
2:40 pm

Koenen is the best punter in the league.

rock

January 25th, 2011
2:51 pm

1. Speedy Deep Receiver
2. Defensive Coordinator

Joycee Banicheck

January 25th, 2011
2:51 pm

Hey Delta, there is a reason his nickname is “The Glass Rocket”

PMC

January 25th, 2011
2:55 pm

wish I could get excited about Robert James.

tt44

January 25th, 2011
3:04 pm

oh my What a shame the Falcons coaches and players should be from tearing our hearts out in round one of the playoffs. I am still not over that lackluster performance! A dead fish stinks from head to tail! Smitty, I have more faith in you as a head coach to let the opportunity we had not slip away but, be BLOWN away like it was…..Mularkey…no adjustments…BVG no adjustments…why couldnt we run the same game plan Green B. did against us!? Fight fire with fire BVG and Mularkey…Smitty….come on man!

Mike in Canton

January 25th, 2011
3:05 pm

The guys saying Koenen is expedable obviously don’t know football or haven’t watched the Falcons play. One of the top punters/kickoff specialists in the league.

Snorts At Firsters

January 25th, 2011
3:11 pm

SHADETREE
January 25th, 2011
1:46 pm
First!!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bummer to be on dialup, huh? :-)

D Money

January 25th, 2011
3:31 pm

Justin Blalock (keep)
Matt Bryant (keep) he was automatic all season
Tyson Clabo (obviously keep, he’s a Pro Bowler)
Harvey Dahl (bye bye, we already have his replacement, Mike Johnson)
Brian Finneran (time to retire)
Brent Grimes (no brainer, keep him plus he’s a ProBowler),
Michael Koenen (keep)
Trey Lewis (bye bye)
Stephen Nicholas (not sure on this one, leaning toward keep)
Jerious Norwood (bye bye),
Michael Peterson (not sure on this one’ he could target a head hunter)
Eric Weems (keep, he’s a ProBowler),
Brian Williams (bye bye)
Coy Wire (bye bye)

Mgibby

January 25th, 2011
3:35 pm

Please put a package together for Albert Haynesworth. He wants to play in the 4-3 and he commands a double team every snap. While the secondary play would be better if we were to sign Nhamdi, If we were to add Haynesworth to the D-line, the entire defense would improve 10 fold.

After such a great season, I don’t want to see the Birds try to patch up the D with second tier players. I would love to see a star in his prime to come in and make the Falcon’s D elite.

Joycee Banicheck

January 25th, 2011
3:36 pm

tt44 I couldn’t agree more. I Can’t even watch the rest of the playoffs without getting pissed off thinking about it. It was round 2 however, remember the bye.

TheWad

January 25th, 2011
3:40 pm

cajdawg…….let me call up Jesse Tuggle so you can make that statement about Robert James size in relation to ability in the NFL to his face. I think Tuggle could help rearrange your thinking better than I could.

Trust Demittrof and Smith. They know talent and will continue to develope a SB winner. We are right on schedule.
Need aan everydown back with better than average speed. Turner hasn`t done squat for 2 years.

Dbeats

January 25th, 2011
3:44 pm

@rock, I agree with you. Why is no questioning our defensive coordinator? All the defenses in the AFC/NFC Championship games were top 5. We did not belong there. I love the Falcons but we have to get tougher. Van Gorder didnt go into the 2nd half with anything different from the first. After halftime, coaches must have a different game plan if the first isnt working.

C from Marietta

January 25th, 2011
3:46 pm

LOL. Someone actually brought up Albert Haysworth. NO THANK YOU! He can’t even show up to camp in shape.

ASHCAN.

January 25th, 2011
3:51 pm

@Mgibby,i read a article in the philly times stating the eagles will go after haynesworth and nhamdi to play with samuel.I don’t know how true that is but i would believe the eagles would get them before the falcons.I don’t understand the falcons organization,they act like they are scared of free agents.

Falcons Chic

January 25th, 2011
3:53 pm

I’m really intent on the Oline. Dahl, Clabo and Blalock need to stay. The rest beyond the kickers? I’m flex.

DBeats, I’m with you. Any idiot can change a game plan at half time. What is goin’ down?

GMAN

January 25th, 2011
3:56 pm

what are you guys talking about, Clabo had a pretty good year. it was really Baker who was the liability. if anything keep Clabo, let either Blalock or Dahl go, move baker inside, and draft a real left tackle

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by atlfan1024, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Falcons sign Robert ‘The Beast’ James to a two-year deal http://bit.ly/fIDjRt [...]

GMAN

January 25th, 2011
4:03 pm

im telling you Baker would probably emerge as the best G we got if he was inside, we probably wouldnt even miss Dahl if it wer’nt for the nastiness he brings, oh and i vote release Blalock

gcs

January 25th, 2011
4:18 pm

How can someone on the practice squad be nicknamed “The Beast”?

.

cantondawg

January 25th, 2011
4:26 pm

Did someone say get Albert Haynesworth. you gotta be kidding

Hoof Hearted?

January 25th, 2011
4:33 pm

With the solid character personnel that is in this organization. Maybe, it’s time to get a couple of loose cannons that can play!

Hardy Falcon

January 25th, 2011
4:43 pm

THERE AGAIN WE SIGN A HAS BEEN !HE HASN’T DONE NOTHING IN THE PAST AND HE’S TO SHORT.

Mave2124

January 25th, 2011
4:49 pm

Thanks for this info D-Led….my views and team needs…

Justin Blalock (left guard, 4 years) – Resign/Maybe
Matt Bryant (PK, 9 years) – Resign
Tyson Clabo (RT, 6 years) – Resign
Harvey Dahl (RG, 4 years) – Resign/Maybe
Brian Finneran (WR, 10 years) – Goodbye
Brent Grimes (CB, 3 years) – Resign
Michael Koenen (P, 6 years) – Resign
Trey Lewis (DT, 3 years) – Goodbye
Stephen Nicholas (LB, 4 years) – Goodbye
Jerious Norwood (RB, 5 years) – Goodbye
Michael Peterson (LB, 12 years – Goodbye
Will Svitek (LT, 5 years) – Goodbye
Eric Weems (WR, 3 years) – Resign
Brian Williams, (CB, 9 years) – Resign/Maybe
Coy Wire (LB, 9 years) – Resign

Team needs going into the draft and FA are:

1. Sack Master DE
2. Speed Threat WR
3. Speed Threat RB
4. Play Making LB
5. Shutdown Nickel CB
6. Special Teams Maven

I am surprised signings are going on…figure everything would be on hold until March. What are the rules until March D-Led?

blord

January 25th, 2011
4:55 pm

Keep Justin Blalock (only if price is right),Matt Bryant, Tyson Clabo,
Brent Grimes, Michael Koenen, Stephen Nicholas, Will Svitek, Eric Weems.
Use free agency to snag a bigtime DE , and solid corner, maybe a deep threat at WR.
Draft a speedback with good hands to complement Turner (doesn’t have to be in the first round i e Noel Divine), Then we can go with a oline piece and best postion available.

who cares

January 25th, 2011
5:05 pm

im still mad at how we played against the packers… lets get big play receivers another DE to rush the quaterback. and lets hope the offensive cordinator takes a head coaching job so we can get another one who will actually let matt ryan throw the ball down field!

CFB Fan

January 25th, 2011
5:15 pm

Hey guys…

The Falcons need to draft Noel Divine (RB from West Virginia). Dude is lightning quick, can get to the edges, and we can line him up ouside and let him strech the field.

PLEASE SIGN NOEL DIVINE!!!!!!!!

DrJ

January 25th, 2011
5:16 pm

So we signed a 5′11′, 224# SLB! But he knows the plays…. We need some really big thumpers that are fast as well. They are out there, we just need to find them. We seem to like the injury prone, lighter-weight, so-so speed guys.

Is there a football “Q” school that Dunta can attend over the summer? With his big contract I guess he is going to be around for a while, but I don’t see him as the CB we have been looking for.

I hope we can find a young Finn, but if we can’t, why not keep the clutch receiver? Norwood needs to go. Keep all the Pro-Bowlers. Like the idea of Baker to guard, he was better this year than last. I haven’t figured the pecking order of Clabo/Dahl/Blaylock. Wish B. Williams could stay healthy. Weems and Grimes brightened the games.

I hope all these Falcon Pro-Bowlers don’t let their sudden promotions go to their heads, because it was only the team working together as a unit, that made them the pro-bowlers, I hope they realize that.

CFB Fan

January 25th, 2011
5:17 pm

B lord -

I hadn’t seen your post. YES, NOEL DIVINE would be a GREAT piece to this team…. Go get him guys!!!! He has great hands too.

CFB Fan

January 25th, 2011
5:20 pm

Don’t forget about Kerry Mier (WR) from Kansas…He is the wide reciever that the Falcons were really high on in the preseason. He caught everything thrown his way. He had a season ending knee injury during the pre season, but he was going to get playting time this year. He should be healthy in the line up next year.

gman

January 25th, 2011
5:36 pm

hey i like Noel Divine too. but he’s about 5”7″ and 160 lb he’s quick but too light. who we need is
Derrick Locke of Kentucky he’s about 5′8 1/2 190lb quick to the outside fast and will not shy from contact im telling you this kid runs in the 4.3’s and has the weight that divine does’nt. 4th round Derrick Locke Kentucky, thats if he’s still there

Nookah

January 25th, 2011
5:39 pm

CFB Fan,

You beat me to the punch. Kerry Mier will be a great addition to our receiving corp once he is healthy. He will be our Wes Welker with far more size. Great hands and great route runner!! Can’t wait to see him get on the field next year.

Go Falcons!!

gman

January 25th, 2011
5:45 pm

CFB Fan i hear you but it usually takes a year to get back on track we aint got a year w’re doing this now. Brandon Harvey may out play Mier this year, if he had not got hurt last year aint no telling, they were high on him till he got the injury. tall, good hands, crisp routs, look out