Falcons to get first shot to re-sign Jason Snelling

Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling (44) runs into the end zone past Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson for the first of two touchdowns during 2nd quarter action for a 17-7 lead at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010.  (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling (44) runs into the end zone past Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson for the first of two touchdowns during 2nd quarter action for a 17-7 lead at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

While the offensive line could be decimated by free agency,  Falcons running back Jason Snelling may also be a hot commodity in free agency.

With just four years needed to reach unrestricted status, Snelling would be free to negotiation with all 32 teams if that proposal is ratified in a new collective bargaining agreement.

Snelling has served as Michael Turner’s main backup for the last two seasons. Snelling talked with Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk on Wednesday and left the door open for a possible return to the Falcons.

“I’m going to talk to the Falcons,” Snelling said. “They are the team that drafted me. I love the organization. I love my teammates and my staff. But I have to explore my options. But they’ll definitely be on the top of the list.”

Ironically, Turner was a backup in San Diego for four years before he signed with the Falcons as a free agent.

Atlanta's Jason Snelling (44) fumbles while being hit by Seattle's Will Herring. The Falcons kept possession on the play. AP

Atlanta's Jason Snelling (44) fumbles while being hit by Seattle's Will Herring. The Falcons kept possession on the play. AP

Snelling was a seventh round pick in 2007 and he’s out-performed his draft status. Some teams, as Florio points out in the interview, could view him as a No. 1 back or a No. 1 back in a rotation.

Snelling has made just three starts, but has played in 51 games over four seasons. He’s rushed for 1,042 yards on 257 carries (4.1 yards per carry) and scored seven rushing touchdowns.

Snelling has also caught 82 passes for 651 yards and four touchdowns. Last season,  he was the team’s third-leading receiver behind Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, with 44 catches for 303 yards and three touchdowns.

He is valuable for the Falcons because in addition to backing up Turner, he backs up Ovie Mughelli at fullback and is a special teamer.

The Falcons did draft running back Jacquizz Rodgers in the fifth round of the 2011 draft and could wait to see if Norwood recovers from knee surgery. They also have Antone Smith and Gartrell Johnson on the roster.

When Snelling’s agent is shopping his services to teams, he can point to last season’s game against Arizona. Snelling ran for 129 yards on 24 carries and scored two touchdowns in the 41-7 rout of the Cardinals. He also caught five passes for 57 yards, including a touchdown reception.

In the 2009 season finale against Tampa Bay, he rushed for 147 yards on 25 carries to help the Falcons earn their second consecutive winning season for the first time in franchise history.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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55 comments Add your comment

WJ

June 22nd, 2011
3:51 pm

Gritz Blitz

June 22nd, 2011
3:52 pm

Re-signing Snelling should be a top priority. We need him.

WJ

June 22nd, 2011
3:52 pm

I sure would hate to see Snelling go. Hopefully, things will get worked out with him and the Falcons. He is a good player and a team player. Falcons need him.

WJ

June 22nd, 2011
3:55 pm

Hey DOB is there any news on the labor front that gives cause to think that an agreement will be reached within next week?

ernisTbass

June 22nd, 2011
3:59 pm

Snelling also can run between the tackles which Turner can’t, need to keep him and either make Norwood a slot receiver or let him go to somebody else that will, Quizz will fill the change of pace roll and he doesn’t have the toothpick leggs that Norwood has which is why he doesn’t need to be trying to break the line but be catching the ball beyond it

Falcons Will Win

June 22nd, 2011
4:15 pm

ErnisT lol @ Turner cant run between the tackles , smh

Section242

June 22nd, 2011
4:27 pm

Would love to have Snelling back but it is a matter of $. If someone wants to pay him as a #1 back, we can’t match it. Turner is our first option (thunder) with Jacquizz being the lightning. We can only pay him backup $. Our priorities are to sign our lineman especially the guards. We also need a DE to go opposite Abe.

Gwinnett Fred

June 22nd, 2011
4:29 pm

If it comes down to resigning a lineman or Snelling – they better resign the lineman.

We could have a hall of fame backfield, but they (and Ryan) are in big trouble with a patchword line.

Turner is fine, Quizz will be a great change of pace that can catch the ball.

BOLSTER THE LINE(S).

Larry

June 22nd, 2011
4:35 pm

G. Fred,

We need help on BOTH lines! We keep signing these pretty players but without a strong foundation (OL & DL Lines) the pretty house will crumble to the ground–as we saw against Green Bay!

where are the true fans

June 22nd, 2011
4:57 pm

I hope we keep Snelling, I like him as a player and a person. But if we can’t I say good luck to him he has earned his chance to be the #1 back

D Money

June 22nd, 2011
5:07 pm

Talk to Clabo, Blalock, and a DE first. Then talk to Snelling, Matt Bryant and Nicholas. I would be happy if we make these 6 signings whenever FA opens up.

MaxxFalcon

June 22nd, 2011
5:31 pm

I love Snelling, but if he wants Mike Turner money then he can go elsewhere. I’ll ride with Turner and Quizz

Remarkable

June 22nd, 2011
6:22 pm

Snelling will never get those yards if he is the main back. Teams don’t focus on him like they do on Turner. Yes we like him, but there are other 7th round backs in the sea.

Runner-

June 22nd, 2011
8:47 pm

Agree, make sure you resign the OL first, probably to short term deals, then attempt to resign Snelling. He’s not all that valuable, as he doesn’t provide much of a change to Turner when placed in the game, we have other backups that use speed.

Steve

June 22nd, 2011
9:21 pm

While we need Snelling due to Turner’s injury history it’s more important to sign a couple of linemen first. For one, its easier to find one backup RB in FA than it is 3-4 OL.

I hope they all try to stay in Atlanta, but I wouldn’t blame them if they were to get more PT/Moolah elsewhere.

hiramsaint

June 22nd, 2011
9:25 pm

hate to disagree steve but as a saints fan i can tell you it’s very hard to get a quality rb in fa during the season. that was our achilles heel last year and we paid for it.

JD

June 22nd, 2011
10:05 pm

Sign the hogs, get a DE that’s got a high-octane motor, and fill the middle LB spot with an AJ Hawk clone and we can then worry about signing Snelling….Need I remind you all, Defense Wins Games.

sansho1

June 22nd, 2011
10:37 pm

Anyone but Gartrell. That guy goes down like he’s been shot.

birdman 4443

June 22nd, 2011
10:43 pm

Cut him already and get Reggie Bush. He is sorry.

titothebear

June 22nd, 2011
11:14 pm

Ken Strickland

June 22nd, 2011
11:40 pm

Stop worrying about our OL. TD and Smitty knew this situation was coming and have replacements for all 3 FA OLinemen if it comes to that. If they don’t think any one of our potential replacements is ready to take over, they’ll resign which ever OLinemen we need.

AS far as a DE is concerned, we just need one that’s experienced and consistent, with pass rushing skills. With a yr of experience under CPeters’ belt, and a healthy PJerry, along with JBabineaux and VWalker, we’ll have an improved interior pass rush.

hiramsaint

June 22nd, 2011
11:58 pm

welcome back ken- haven’t heard from you in awhile . hope all is well.

FalconInVt

June 23rd, 2011
12:14 am

Red Dog 77

June 23rd, 2011
12:34 am

This is exactly where our G.M. earns his paycheck………he comes from New England, having been tutored by the best in the business……..I’m a Falcon fan, have been through thick and thin [mostly thin] since they played their first game here in Atlanta……………I’m a pretty bright football fan, I played the game, I spend every Saturday and Sunday [Monday's and Thursdays too] watching and studying as many games as I can get away with ………..But I’ll be damned if I’m going to act like some football guru that has all the answers, that’s what we hired our G.M. to do. I will however add one observation………..make dadgum sure we have a formitable Oline and Dline…….That’s where championships are won and lost…………But I’m sure our high dollar G.M. already knows that !……………..GO FALCONS !……………RED

Brian

June 23rd, 2011
3:27 am

Snelling and Norwood have played their final down as Falcons. The only chance Snelling has to stay is if he accepts back up $. Turner and Quizz are going to be a great combo. Norwood has no shot at returning unless Quizz gets hurt before he signs elsewhere… Blalock is going back to Dallas (enter Mike Johnson). All we need is to 1. Resign Clabo/Dahl 2. Sign a proven DE (Osi, Charles Johnson or Ray Edwards) 3. SIGN ASOMUGHA!!! Taylor or Cromartie will suffice but come on, let’s shoot for the stars. It’s Super Bowl or bust right? We have shown this line of thinking with the Julio Jones trade (which I love). The addition of Nnamdi will give us the best group of CB’s in the NFL. Grimes will have to accept the Nickel role. Their shouldn’t be a pride issue ‘cuz NB is really a starting gig nowadays with all the spread 3 & 4 WR sets in today’s offenses. These 3 moves will assure us a ticket to the big game. I honestly believe the Offense is rock solid with no weakness except perhaps depth at TE which could be addresses in free agency. As for the Defense: again adding a proven DE and Asomugha is mandatory. Moore and Weatherspoon need to make some big plays. Jerry and Jamaal need to prove they are worthy of their first rd contracts or get lost. DeCoud is my only concern. He needs to be solid at the least. Adding some depth at LB wouldn’t hurt either. If the new CBA contains a rookie wage cap, the Falcons should have the cap room to add some big names on the D in free agency.

Jamaaliver

June 23rd, 2011
8:36 am

If we hadn’t traded up to get Julio, we could have kept our picks and drafted Mark Ingram, the Heisman winning RB out of Alabama.
Then this all would be a moot point.

Ah…woulda, coulda, shoulda.

D man

June 23rd, 2011
9:41 am

Not first!!!
I like Snelling but we have greater needs like keeping the O-line and getting a D back.

D man

June 23rd, 2011
9:44 am

Brian – ditto

Falcon57

June 23rd, 2011
10:52 am

I agree with you Ken, I think C. Peters with a year under his belt, a healthy J. Peria, Bab’s and Walker, our defensive interior will be solid and that will in turn help out Bierman. Just look at the tapes from last year and we were within an inch of at least another 12+ sacks, several of those from the GB game. Add a little more pressure from the interior and that will take care of not only the sacks but that extra second we gave qb’s like Rogers to find and complete passes for first downs.

I also agree with you on TD and Smith seeing this coming with the offensive line. I just hope they can keep enough of them to maintain some sort of continuity. Out of the 3 linemen scheduled to be FA’s, Blalock, to me is the most expendable. I think Mike Johnson could fill in for him and not miss a beat. I really like the tandem of Dahl and Clabo on the right side and I really think the opposition doesn’t like to see them as well.

just sayin'

June 23rd, 2011
1:53 pm

u balk at paying snelling #1 RB big bucks but you talk about bringing Reggie Bush?….wow…

hiramsaint

June 23rd, 2011
3:21 pm

reggie would be able to play at least 9 games…please , take him

opie

June 23rd, 2011
4:03 pm

Snelling is a good back but not good enough to replace Turner. I hope he signs elsewhere so Atlanta would receive a possible 3rd rounder next year if the compensatory picks remain in the CBA. Clabo is good as gone we need those picks to recoup the Julio Jones pick. You do not pay top dollar for a backup running back. It does not make sense financially!!!

Kane337

June 23rd, 2011
9:48 pm

james

June 24th, 2011
9:21 am

He is absolutely one of my favorite players on the team. I also appreciate how he fits the “high character” persona of the organization as a whole. He is workmanlike, never complains, and does his job with no unnecessary theatrics. Would love to seem him in a Falcons uniform for the duration. Norwood on the other hand just seeds to be shown the door.

Jonkdawg

June 24th, 2011
11:23 am

Just keep jason around for few more years!

True Falcon Fan

June 24th, 2011
11:34 am

Fellas, relax – Snelling is a #2 RB – Snelling is a great guy, great player & teammate, he’s all about team and that is a good thing! I am sure TD & MS are going to try like hell to keep Snell, “but the bottomline is what it is” — it’s all about $$$$$$$$$ what can Snell get/bring & who will come to the table????? Good luck Snell – I for one hope the best for you, thank you for being here and especially the intense play. Hope to see you next season 2011 on the Falcons team, my friend!

Go Falcons

Big Ray

June 25th, 2011
7:34 am

I’d keep Snelling over “Broke Leg Mountain” Norwood…

True Falcon Fan

June 25th, 2011
7:48 am

Big Ray – jus because the guy likes to go fishin’ with his buddys, you seem to be aware of something you are not tellin’ – what’s sup dawg??

True Falcon Fan

June 25th, 2011
11:40 am

Big Ray – so i’m guessen’ you are another “chuck n’ duck” – quack, quack,,,,,,,,

Falcsfan40

June 25th, 2011
8:33 pm

I love Snelling, but only at backup money. Quizz will replace Norwood very well. We need to resign Clabo/Dahl first. And a bigtime free agent DE is a MUST. The Oakland CB would be nice as well.

Big Ray

June 26th, 2011
7:03 am

True Falcon Fan ,

No, just making fun of Norwood’s injury history, and using a movie title to do so. Beyond that, I know nothing of the guy’s “personal preferences.”

Big Ray

June 26th, 2011
7:05 am

Big Ray – so i’m guessen’ you are another “chuck n’ duck” – quack, quack

Why, because I didn’t stick around to talk about things for a while?

Big Ray – jus because the guy likes to go fishin’ with his buddys, you seem to be aware of something you are not tellin’ – what’s sup dawg??

Sounds like you know more than I do. I didn’t even know he liked to go fishing. Sounds like you want a date. Can’t help ya with that…

True Falcon Fan

June 26th, 2011
9:12 am

Big Ray – Good Morning,No i am not into sweetie boy crap! My opinion of Norwood is probably the same as yours – i wish he could stay healthy enough to play out a season. You making fun of Norwood is probably warranted because of his injury status the past two seasons. The guy likes to fish though, he has stated it so during his interviews.

So please excuse me for implying you are a Chuck N’ Duck

Go Falcons

Jimmy

June 26th, 2011
9:48 pm

If what this article says is true–that Snelling is seen as a number one back…he is gone.
The Falcons will not pay him that kind of money.

falcon21

June 27th, 2011
8:44 am

we definetly could use him back he helped alot when it matterd

falcon21

June 27th, 2011
8:46 am

we can definetly use him again norwood has done his time its snellings time norwood can be uses a reciever

usbummer

June 27th, 2011
8:55 am

I would love to see Snelling back, but not at the expense of the down line. A dominating line makes all running backs better. Shore up the DL also. That’s just this one person’s opinion.

Falcon James

June 27th, 2011
5:22 pm

the falcon need to just get in touch with snelling agent and work out the deal. turner leg tired and he look slow all season. turner look like he washed up.

loel

June 27th, 2011
8:06 pm

you scribes ever notice that Turner can’t catch a pass to go along with the other things he can’t do. Snelling can and can run also inside or out.

Brian

June 27th, 2011
11:06 pm

For me there are 4 must resigns:
1. Grimes
2>Dahl
3. Blalock
4. Snelling