Sign or Don’t sign: Eric Weems is a playmaker

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Eric Weems (14) outruns Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Maurice Stovall (85) to the end zone to score on a 102-yard touchdown return during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Eric Weems (14) outruns Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Maurice Stovall (85) to the end zone to score on a 102-yard touchdown return during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

For the next few days — while we’re waiting on news from the lockout talks — we are playing a little game: Sign or Don’t Sign. It’s our version of “Deal” or “No Deal” or “Buy” or “Sell.”

It’s a little free agency game to keep us busy while time is becoming of the essence in the labor talks.

Should the Falcons re-sign wide receiver Eric Weems?

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We started out with running back Jerious Norwood (results below) and will move on down the list to wide receiver Eric Weems today.

Here’s the Falcons list of free agents:

Justin Blalock, left guard, 4 years

Matt Bryant, kicker, 9 years

Tyson Clabo, right tackle, 6 years

Harvey Dahl, right guard,  4 years

Brent Grimes, cornerback, 3 years

Michael Koenen, punter, 6 years

Stephen Nicholas, linebacker, 4 years

Jerious Norwood, running back, 5 years

Michael Peterson, linebacker, 12 years

Jason Snelling, running back, 4 years

Eric Weems, wide receiver, 3 years

Weems had a breakthrough season in 2010 and was named to the Pro Bowl as the special teams player.

He averaged 27.5 yards on kickoff returns, which was second in the league for returners with 30 or more returns.

He averaged 12.8 yards on punt returns which was fifth in the league for returners with 15 or more returns.

Eric Weems checking in at the Pro Bowl.

Eric Weems checking in at the Pro Bowl.

Weems was named the NFC special teams player of the week after his franchise record 102 yard kickoff return against Tampa Bay on Dec. 5.

Weems had a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown in the regular-season finale against the Carolina Panthers.

He was particularly dangerous down the stretch as he averaged 30.9 yards on his kickoff returns in December and was named the NFC special teams player of the month. In December, Weems led the coverage units with five tackles to help the Falcons hold opponents to a league-best average starting position of the 24.3-yard line.

In addition to being the team’s returner, Weems was the top special teams tackler on the coverage units with 16 tackles.

Weems was the only player in the NFC to record a punt return and a kickoff return touchdown last season and he was the first player in team history to accomplish that feat.

With the Falcons intent on improving their passing attack, there could be more opportunities for Weems from scrimmage. He could earn some playing time when the team goes to three- and four-wide receiver sets.

Coach Mike Smith said the team needs to make more explosive plays. Weems has made explosive plays on special teams with his open-field running ability, and he will likely get a chance to show if he can make some from scrimmage.

He’s has three accrued years and likely will not an unrestricted free agent if a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

“A lot depends on how the new CBA looks,” said James Christopher Martin, Weems’ agent.  “He’s made big plays and has been a game-changer. They want him. I don’t suspect there will be any arm wrestling to get a deal done. I don’t think they look at him as a one-trick pony.”

Weems, who started four games last season, caught six passes for 61 yards.

“When they have given him a chance to work in the slot, he’s showed up,” Martin said. “He’s solid.”

Weems, who made the team as a undrafted rookie free agent out of Bethune-Cookman, could provide additional depth to the receiving corps.

“They went to go vertical more and open things up a little bit,” Martin said. “They want to stretch the field more and have better spacing. I think he could work well inside against linebackers trying to cover him.”

POLL RESULTS: Should the Falcons re-sign running back Jerious Norwood?

  • No, Jacquizz Rodgers can pick up the slack. (71%, 2,231 Votes)
  • Yes, he still has some gas left in the tank. (29%, 906 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,137

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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43 comments Add your comment


July 11th, 2011
8:04 am

Definitely a Keeper!


July 11th, 2011
8:04 am

Wow. I read it all and was still….no…I will not say it.


July 11th, 2011
8:40 am

How are the new kickoff rules going to affect players like Weems? Aren’t they moving the point of kickoff so that there is not going to be as many returns? I think the Falcons should keep Weems because he is a great athelete with a good attitude that can be used in numbers of roles. Hey, if they are going to change the kickoff rules, then we can use Weems in another role. You got to respect his speed and ball handling ability.

D man

July 11th, 2011
8:44 am

We have greater needs at CB, DE, and the O line, but Weems is a good player. Keep him…


July 11th, 2011
8:48 am

I wouldnt break the bank for him especially since he could have been a one hit wonder. I remember his rookie season sitting in the stands wondering if he was even going to make the team. I have also have read reports where people think he should be an alternate as a WR and I wouldn’t want to pay him WR money. I would like to see the Falcons give the former #1 WR Vidal Hazelton out of HS a shot. He is young, athletic, great hands and says he wants to be here and I think he would be a viable option in case we either trade or release Jenkins.


July 11th, 2011
9:01 am

i say no…….. third?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 11th, 2011
9:02 am

Dan — Nice thought on Hazelton. He finished his college career in Cincinnati after starting out at USC.


July 11th, 2011
9:08 am

Since he will only have 3 accrued seasons, its not like we would be giving Weems a multi million dollar contract. Sign him to whatever the minimum requirement is and see if he can do it two years in a row, particularly with the new rules on kickoffs.

Gritz Blitz

July 11th, 2011
9:30 am

Weems gained confidence as the season progressed last year, and it showed in the month of December. His return against Tampa Bay was HUGE. It single handedly turned the game around for us. We need Weems. Definitely resign him.


July 11th, 2011
9:33 am

Weems is a Football player we need to resign this guy asap. The guy is like a swiss army knife he does a little bit of everything. Not to mention he has the best hands on the team besides Roddy. WR PR KR………………… If this guy hits the market he will come back to haunt us i think….


July 11th, 2011
9:38 am

resign the following the remainder can walk……. Weems,Grimes,Nicholas,Claybo or Blaylock, Bryant. Maybe Norwood -yeah yeah yeah I know…… injury prone but I think he still has some big play ability.

Paddy O

July 11th, 2011
9:41 am

D led – thanks for the “playmaker” moniker – I post regularly over at the bird cage, and poor Mr. Weems does not get much respect – I thought he played quite well before we reestablished “blocking” on special teams (about game 4 or 5 last year). You have any idea why we don’t use him as a slot receiver? He appears to be the fastest guy on the team!


July 11th, 2011
9:55 am

Heck Norwood


July 11th, 2011
9:56 am

It would be nice to keep the O-line in tact since they seem to have a pretty good chemistry. But if Tyson Clabo and/or Harvey Dahl leave, I am glad the Falcons have some good young guys (Mike Johnson, Hawley, Reynolds) ready to step in.


Avi S

July 11th, 2011
10:04 am

Norwood has so much promise when he was first drafted. He was electric and as soon as he broke a couple of tackles in got in the open he was untouchable. Injuries have really hurt his career and as a result he will probably not be in an Atlanta uniform .


July 11th, 2011
10:21 am

Norwood should have been switched to WR 2 seasons ago. Both he and the team would have been better for it. Open field tackling of that young man would have been a serious issue for opposing DB’s.


July 11th, 2011
10:52 am

I think they should at least offer Norwood. Push Quiz. Norwood has only played 3 of 5 years and he’s almost never healthy, so offer him accordingly. He’s still blazing fast. If he’s not crushing the bottom line why not bring him back for camp anyway?


July 11th, 2011
10:54 am

Also, with Quizz in town screens and the fly sweep should at least be considered.

No screens last year for the most part because only Snelling could catch out of the backfield.


July 11th, 2011
11:08 am

Keep him – Hail thee, Maroon and Gold!


July 11th, 2011
11:42 am

Hey Y’all

Weems is no joke!!!! We need to keep him. WE NEED TO KEEP HIM IN “ONE HEARTBEAT!!!”

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THUMP!!!! CAN YOU HERE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!THUMP!! IT’s GETTING LOUDER!!!!!


This is a SECRET from a FALCON FAN. TELL EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

…………………………………………”ONE HEARTBEAT, BABY!!!!!!!!!!!…………………..


July 11th, 2011
1:30 pm

Eric Weems might be my favorite Falcon. Definitely in my top 3. You can’t have enough Eric Weems on your team. I will be a bit distraught if he plays for someone else next year.


July 11th, 2011
1:40 pm

Yeah, Weems is definitely a keeper. Norwood, on the hand, needs to go. Great when he’s healthy, but that’s been far too rare during his time w. the Falcons to justify keeping him around. Gotta keep Snelling, and hope the Rodgers kid can pick up the “speedy back slack.”

The U

July 11th, 2011
2:13 pm

Weems is a baller. He’s a guy who was a play maker in college and continues to do it at the next level. He’s a legitimate WR, just got the give the man more WR opportunities. Rafael Bush (strong safety on practice squad is cut from the same cloth). Small school ballers that can play on this level.
Give Weems some money, and let Bush compete for backup to William Moore.


July 11th, 2011
2:51 pm

Keep this guy. We probably would have won two fewer games without him last year. In a league where the majority of the games are decided by a touchdown or less, a kick returner who can take it to the house is a huge commodity.

Keith Mercer

July 11th, 2011
3:05 pm

He did not get arrested during the lockout so no legal problems to worry about. Keep him. Pay him as much as he wants.

Delbert D.

July 11th, 2011
4:16 pm

Weems is a keeper. Go back to before he was the kick returner and you’ll see some outstanding blocking on returns.


July 11th, 2011
6:26 pm

We need Defensive players period.


July 11th, 2011
7:02 pm

If Eric Weems is used on more passing downs the ATL Falcons offense will be great. This guy is fast,can get open and will make a defense go crazy when on the field with R. White,J. Jones, and Gonzalez. Eric Weems wants to make a big play and will make the big play


July 11th, 2011
8:10 pm

Eric Weems has proven himself to be a falcon. Are you really talking about letting go of a productive player. Look at his play. a pro-bowl player. YOU DONT EVER GIVE AWAY YOUR FUTURE. it is easier to let go of players that are not in the prime of their life.


July 11th, 2011
8:17 pm

I know 2 people on that list should not be re signed. Mike Peterson and Jerious Norwood. Pete needs to retire and Jerious Norwood needs to retire so he can walk when he gets older.


July 11th, 2011
8:29 pm

Weems and Grimes are safe no matter what. You shouldn’t even be writing about it. They only have three years of service. Unless the CBA is totally different they will be RFA. So, they’ll be locked up for this year at the least.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 11th, 2011
8:30 pm

It looks like you all overwhelmingly want to keep E. Weems!!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 11th, 2011
8:31 pm

Barry — Thanks for stopping by today!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 11th, 2011
8:34 pm

Paddy O — He’s going to get a look in the slot. The slot is crowded right now with Jenkins, Douglas and Meier. Weems can be the 4th guy. He could be the Falcons’ Jordy Nelson or James Jones.


July 11th, 2011
10:09 pm

Word around the NFL is that Weems has already been talking to the Saints.

Noodle Arm

July 11th, 2011
10:14 pm

Keep him. True baller. Great talent.

Freddie G

July 12th, 2011
12:49 am

While I doubt the Falcons will resign Norwood, I am guessing that a team in the NFC South will sign him, and that team may be the Saints if they do not sign Reggie Bush.


July 12th, 2011
1:34 am

SaintsFan284—-Those Taints had better sign someone since Lance Moore is starting to feel like a Clint Eastwood movie; “Gone Baby Gone.” Glad to see you Taints fans changing your screen names so often in a failed attempt to make it look like there are more of you.

As for Mr. Weems, we should keep this young man. He’s a great special teamer and gives the offense the ability to line up in a five receiver set and have a lot of explosion across the board. Jenkins seems like he may be the odd man out because of his inconsistencies. Harry Douglas should come on strong and Weems has so much better field vision than Jenks that I’m not sure if Mike can even make the team this season. I don’t want to lose Mike but I would rather see him move on than Eric.
As for our freeagents, I would like to see Atlanta go after, Blalock, Snelling, Nicholas, Peterson and Dahl, in that order. Let Clabo walk because Reynolds can step in and not lose a step. Dahl is more crytical to our interior than Clabo is on the outside. He may make more mistakes then Tyson but we don’t have another player ready to step in to Harvey’s shoes and not have a significant drop off.


July 12th, 2011
7:11 am

Weems can play and we need players. Keep him.


July 12th, 2011
3:18 pm

@ Falcants Fan 284- Has anyone ever told you how ignorant you are? Lance aint goin’ nowhere except back to the big dance in Feb. with the Saints. Wishful thinking on your part and you really ought to thank me for the compliment by assuming you can think , your post certainly haven’t shown it.

Falcon Fan

July 12th, 2011
8:15 pm

I wouldn’t mind Reggie Bush at the right price. If we want play makers and difference makers we are going to have to let some of these decent players walk.


July 15th, 2011
10:06 am


July 15th, 2011
10:10 am

Double Trouble time!!!! # Its a party Its a party Its a party! AAAAAYYYYYEEEEEEEEE :)