Sign or Don’t sign: Can Jason Snelling start for another team?

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/

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/

Running back Jason Snelling is up for today’s edition of “Sign” or “Don’t’ sign.”

It’s our version of “Deal” or “No Deal” or “Buy” or “Sell.”

Should the Falcons re-sign running back Jason Snelling?

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It’s a little free agency game where you get to decide if the Falcons should re-sign the player or not.

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

Snelling was a seventh round (244th overall) pick in the 2007 NFL draft.

With the backfield hit with injuries over the last two seasons, Snelling has stepped up.

In 2009, with Michael Turner missing half of the season, Snelling rushed for 613 yards on 142 carries and caught 30 passes for 259 yards.

In 2010, after Jerious Norwood went down in the second game of the season, Snelling finished third on the team with 44 receptions. He finished 627 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.

Snelling has made just three starts, but has played in 51 games over four seasons. Overall, 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.

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.

Snelling is the ninth rated running back in free agency according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.

KIPER ON SNELLING: “Not the flashiest back around, all Snelling does is produce positive results. He’s a very reliable pass catcher and does a nice job with blitz pickup. His ability to see action at both running back and fullback further adds to his value.”

If a team views Snelling as a possible starter or as are a major contributor to a rotation, he could receive a lucrative offer that the Falcons may not want to match for a reserve.

So, sign or don’t sign.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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47 comments Add your comment


July 13th, 2011
5:39 am


July 13th, 2011
6:22 am

Quality back, hope they can come to terms. You can win with guys like this on your team.

Need him

July 13th, 2011
6:55 am

No question… sign… our backs our often injured, he’s proven and our draftee back is unproven. Without him we would have to find someone else to back up both running back spots anyway

The Real Falcon

July 13th, 2011
6:57 am

No he can’t but we need to resign him.

Falcon Bill

July 13th, 2011
7:09 am

Quality guy; good, solid player who contributes many ways. No serious injury problems. He’s the kind of guy you want on your team. Let’s sign him if we can.


July 13th, 2011
7:14 am

Isn’t the answer almost always “yes” if the price is right?


July 13th, 2011
7:32 am

Don’t sign. Smelling is going to be exactly that this year.


July 13th, 2011
7:53 am

Why don’t we resign Snelling and then trade Turner. I don’t see a drop off when he is in for Turner, and IMHO actually see some uptick. Turner would possibly be great bait for a trade for a DE. Just sayin’

The Real Falcon

July 13th, 2011
8:10 am

Adam is SeenThisB4 under another name. right?

Mitch (the one in Rome)

July 13th, 2011
8:12 am

I really like Snelling, but I’m not sure premium money is due there. He runs high and his center of gravity is not low. He has a high center of gravity from watching some practices, in my estimation, which could lead to him being easy to knock down.
If he does not have large holes to hit he sort of goes down easy. Easy relative to the NFL game, of course. That said, he is a great back up, but I would not pay starter money to keep him. Although I really like the dude.


July 13th, 2011
8:33 am

I hope they are smarter thn a fifth grader. Snelling is all right but he does not have that speed to be a starter. Turner has power and speed. He is a fill in guy. No more no less.

Da Mick

July 13th, 2011
8:34 am

More often than not, I’ve seen Snelling break through top-notch run defenses when Turner couldn’t. He almost always gets yardage on every carry, as opposed to Turner’s frequent pile-up’s at the line when there’s a log-jam. He’s also able to catch the ball when needed. He’s a valuable weapon for the team. When Turner was injured long-term in 09, I thought Snelling brought new life to our running game, energy, and lots of positive yardage to the team. I’m always surprised they don’t use him more.

joe white

July 13th, 2011
8:43 am

this is a no brainer every team needs a jason snelling he is just a football player, rb, fb hell if we needed him to play lb he coulg probably. Sign him drop jerious and we good


July 13th, 2011
8:44 am

Yes! If they have to get rid of a RB, Norwood would be the one to go because he stays injured.


July 13th, 2011
8:48 am

This was is easy Team (hope to see you in DC in two weeks). Snelling is the X factor for the Falcons, now that they have the rookie Jones. You know how positive I am about Snelling…he play multiple positions, is durable and is a good kid. I would prioritze signing Snelling over anything I would do for Weems (new rules make him ineffective) or Norwood (always hurt).

Snelling is the glue for a team. He is growing into one of the Falcons most trusted assets on offensive.


This is an easy one DOL.


July 13th, 2011
8:49 am

Depends on the price… And, I agree, Norwood can’t be depended upon.


July 13th, 2011
9:14 am

Abolutely keep Snelling. He’s a hard-nosed runner with good hands out of the backfield. Every time he plays, he gets good yards. Turner may not have a lot of time yet, and dratee Rodgers hasn’t proven himself yet. At worst, Snelling is good insurance.

Brian Hunt

July 13th, 2011
9:15 am

D. Led,

Where can we find Kiper’s rankings of FAs to see who he has ranked ahead of Snelling?


July 13th, 2011
9:25 am

Sign…..cut Norwood.

Mr. Dawg

July 13th, 2011
9:35 am

If someone is willing to make Snelling their starter and pay him accordingly then he’s gone. The Falcons have a starter and he’s mking too much money to pay another the same. If he falls to “back up” value the Falcons should do their very best to not only keep him but rotate him regularly. If the Falcons let anyone go it should be Norwood with the hopes that the rookie Rodgers can fill the role of the quick back you try to get into “space”.

St. Richt

July 13th, 2011
9:48 am

Not sure why they call Turner the Burner. He tip toes into the hole on every carry. Should be called Twinkle Toes Turner.

Michael Marr

July 13th, 2011
9:56 am

Of course they should keep the best dining hall in Athens.

Jimmy Crack

July 13th, 2011
10:02 am

Sign ‘em all and let our highfalutin’ offense play keep-away in 2011. Ball control, touchdown drives and onside kicks all day long!

Tara Etheredge

July 13th, 2011
10:04 am

Sign! He’s my favorite!


July 13th, 2011
10:11 am

Snelling is our version of Charger’s Michael Turner. We let him go, and he will do good things. Then we will be left looking for a replacement in a couple years.


July 13th, 2011
10:13 am

DOL, what the hell? The two answers in the poll are basically the same. “Yes, as long as the price is right. No, if the bidding gets out of hand.” – That’s really one and the same answer. Can we have another option? I think in this RBBC (running back by committee) driven NFL, even “starting” running backs don’t cost that much anymore. Few teams stick to the “workhorse” back approach that we’ve done with Turner the last three years, and it’s time for us to give it up. Let’s rotate Turner and Snelling for primary carries, with Jacquizz as a change of pace back. I say pay Snelling “starting in a rotation” money, whatever that is (a few million a year?)

Paddy O

July 13th, 2011
10:17 am

I think he, Rogers & Ovie will be a force in 2012 – If Turner does not lose another 25 lbs or so, he might start this year – and, Snelling can catch!


July 13th, 2011
10:22 am

Absolutely keep him! He is the David Ross of backups.

Mocking your Mock

July 13th, 2011
10:27 am

Absolutely sign him. He is much more valuable then you think.

Joey M

July 13th, 2011
10:49 am

Snelling does something Turner doesn’t. Catch passes. In a two back set with Turner and Snelling if the defense is stacked against the run, Ryan can audible and convert Snelling from a lead blocker to a 3rd or 4th check down receiver. I say unless Snelling is offered No 1 back money, resign and get him more involved in the passing game.


July 13th, 2011
11:15 am

You have to re-sign him. Snelling is easily a champion type of player. He reminds me of a New England Patriot’s or Pittsburgh type of player, aka a WINNER. He doesn’t seem as if he’s high maintenance, and with all the number 1 backs available, I don’t see him being offered starter money. He reminds me of Kevin Faulk.


July 13th, 2011
11:21 am

Your poll is the choice between the same option stated two different ways. “Yes if the price is right” is the same thing as “No if the bidding gets out of hand.”

Snelling is in a good spot and I hope he continues to do well. I don’t see him as a full time starter.


July 13th, 2011
11:28 am

snell has been a blessing for us the past few yrs great pick we can let this go either way due to other backs in camp will all depend on where we are putting the money at this yr we will miss him if he goes but also get comp pick if he starts for another team we win no mater what

Steve B

July 13th, 2011
11:36 am

Enter your comments here

Steve B

July 13th, 2011
11:38 am

Keep Snelling, let go of Norwood, Keep all linemen, keep Weems as a return man

Best Back

July 13th, 2011
11:54 am

Snelling is the overall the most complete back we have on the Falcons team. he can run it,he can run it even better when you make him the every down back, more carries the harder and tougher he runs. he can catch it and make good yardage after the catch. he can also pass block and run block with the best fullbacks in the league. Don’t forget, great Special teams player. Snelling is the total package hands down, the best back in ATL. The only reason he is not starting is because we have to much money invested in “Turner the ‘Twinkle Toes’ Burner. I will never forget Snelling single handley beating Tampa Bay in the last game of the 2009/2010 season at Tampa, He ran thru them, over them,caught passes and protected the QB. That’s what he can do if given the starting role.


July 13th, 2011
12:34 pm

Snelling not only is a good running back he is great on specials teams player I hope he resigns with the birds

MI falcon fan

July 13th, 2011
12:37 pm

I agree with whoever hinted towards trading turner for a DE, he isn’t getting any younger and Snelling runs better I get so frustrated with all of turners 2 yard gains because Snelling ALWAYS seems to get 6 yard gains. I think it’s time to let turner go now that we have young talent to head up the position.


July 13th, 2011
1:10 pm

Keep Snelling, dump Norwood. Easy call.

Bigg Don

July 13th, 2011
1:12 pm

Heck yeah sign him and I agree, trade Turner. He’s a yoeman’s Micheal Turner and produces just as much plus catches passes. He reminds of a Billy Rickman type guy. No flash, just performance. Just think he’ll cost a heck of a lot more to keep. He’s EVERY BIT as fast as Turner. Truth be told I got sick of watching Turner last year. He has lost a step for whatever reason. Might be that giant butt of his. Him and snelling make a tough ass 4th quarter combo platter.


July 13th, 2011
3:43 pm

I don’t think he is starter material, but I do think he is a quality backup. I would sign him, but only if the deal is right. If someone is offering him starter’s money, let them have him.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 13th, 2011
5:16 pm

Larry — I think you are correct. The price will only be right if another team doesn’t come in and offer him starter money. If he gets a good offer, the Falcons will have to waive bye-bye.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 13th, 2011
5:20 pm

**Frederick(Bailey)Douglass** — The hard part will be if a team comes in and offers $3 to $4 million and a nice bonus. Then he has to roll. He’s out-played his seventh round draft status. (I just submitted my request for time off, but already have my plane tickets. So, guess I will see you in D.C.)

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 13th, 2011
5:23 pm

Brian Hunt — You have to purchase them from him. It’s called the “2011 Free Agency Data Sheet.” Here are the RBs ahead of Snelling: 1. DeAngelo Williams, 2. Ahmad Bradshaw, 3. Cedric Benson, 4. Ronnie Brown, 5. Michael Bush, 6. Joseph Addai, 7. Darren Sproles and 8. Ricky Williams. Green Bay’s Brando Jackson is 10th.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 13th, 2011
5:26 pm

Rikus — Good point on the payment of running backs. They have slipped in the draft to reflect their decreasing importance in this passing league. Wonder if he’ll take some “rotation” money.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 13th, 2011
5:27 pm

Jason — Rikus putted out my loaded poll question.


July 14th, 2011
12:51 pm

Thanks for responding DLED. Koenen’s question looks much better. :D