Sign or Don’t Sign: Tyson Clabo wants to remain a Falcon

Falcons guards Justin Blalock (left) and Tyson Clabo help Ryan to his feet after a hit against Tampa Bay  (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons guards Justin Blalock (left) and Tyson Clabo help Ryan to his feet after a hit against Tampa Bay (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Everybody is having a little fun spending Arthur Blank’s money.

You all want to keep punter and kickoff specialist Michael Koenen, too.

Should the Falcons re-sign right tackle Tyson Clabo?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
This came after everyone voted to sign left guard Justin Blalock, running back Jason Snelling and returner-receiver Eric Weems.  You all voted not to re-sign running back Jerious Norwood.

Today, we have a major issue to consider in starting right tackle Tyson Clabo in “Sign” or “Don’t Sign.” He’s the No. 1 rated tackle in free agency, according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.

A deal to keep Clabo should in the $35 to $45 million range. Clabo would like to return to the Falcons.

“I’m excited (about free agency),” Clabo said via telephone Thursday evening. “It’s something that I felt that I’d earned last year and didn’t get. So the prospect of actually getting there is exciting. But, I don’t really know if I will get there because, hopefully, Atlanta will do what they need to do to keep me. Obviously, I want to be in Atlanta. But the thing about that, only time will tell.”

Tyson Clabo (far right) is the No. 1 rated tackle in free agency according to ESPN's Mel Kiper's "2011 Free Agency Data Sheet." (By Jimmy Cribb/Atlanta Falcons)

Tyson Clabo (far right) is the No. 1 rated tackle in free agency according to ESPN's Mel Kiper's "2011 Free Agency Data Sheet." (By Jimmy Cribb/Atlanta Falcons)

Here’s the Falcons list of free agents:

Justin Blalock, left guard, 4 years — Sign

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 – Sign

Stephen Nicholas, linebacker, 4 years

Jerious Norwood, running back, 5 years – Don’t sign

Michael Peterson, linebacker, 12 years

Jason Snelling, running back, 4 years — Sign

Eric Weems, wide receiver, 3 years — Sign

After graduating from Wake Forest and going undrafted, Clabo bounced around the league before landing a starting sport and achieving Pro Bowl status last season.

He was originally signed by Denver as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2004. He was waived by the Broncos and signed with the New York Giants and was on their practice squad.

The Giants released Clabo  and he was signed by the San Diego Chargers.

 Atlanta Falcons' Tyson Clabo enters a Manhattan law office, Wednesday, July 13, 2011, in New York. NFL owners and player representatives arrived for another round of labor talks as the negotiations hit a critical phase. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

Atlanta Falcons' Tyson Clabo enters a Manhattan law office, Wednesday, July 13, 2011, in New York. NFL owners and player representatives arrived for another round of labor talks as the negotiations hit a critical phase. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

He was released by the Chargers and signed by the Broncos, where he was inactive for the final two games of the season.

Clabo then went to NFL Europa and played for the Hamburg Sea Devils. He made the all-NFL Europa team, but was again waived by the Broncos.

The Falcons signed him to the practice squad on Sept. 21, 2005.

In 2006, he made the team and took over at right guard when Matt Lehr was suspended for violating the league’s steroid policy. He started the final 10 games and held his own.

In 2007, he moved to right tackle and started 11 games. Over the last three seasons, he’s started 17, 16 and 17 games at right tackle.

Early in general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s regime, the Falcons made it a point of taking care of their  own players. They signed defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and wide receiver Michael Jenkins to contract extensions during the 2008 season.

They signed wide receiver Roddy White to a contract extension, after a brief holdout, before the 2009 season.

But since the White signing, the Falcons have had a defacto freeze on contract extensions, signaling that they might be running out of cash.

Dimitroff likes to call it “fiscal responsibility.”

Tennessee’s David Stewart and Miami’s Vernon Carey are the two highest paid right tackles in the league.

Stewart signed a six-year $38.9 million contract in June of 2008. The last year with a $6.4 salary is voidable. So, really he has a five-year $32.5 million deal or a contract that averages $6.5 million per year.

Carey signed a six-year, $42 million contract in Feb. of 2009. His deal doesn’t have a voidable year, so the average is $7 million.

So, when the two sides exchange proposals, Clabo’s side is likely to submit some numbers similar to the Stewart-Carey deals.

Teams expected to bid for Clabo include Seattle, Denver and possibly the Chicago Bears. But since the Bears drafted Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi with the 29th pick in the draft, they might not enter the Clabo derby.

Clabo didn’t attend the seven-on-seven practices during May and June in Buford. He elected to workout four to five times a week with right guard Harvey Dahl.

There is a place off of Old Peachtree called Georgia Sports Performance,” Clabo said. “We’ve been going in there. They have a really nice facility. A good inside. They have everything that we would need to do everything that we’d need to do.”

KIPER ON CLABO: “Coming of a Pro Bowl year, he’s developed into a very good right tackle over the last two seasons. The Falcons obviously would like to retain his services, but I’m told they will not get into a bidding war to make it happen. We shall see. One of the things that will factor into the equation is how they feel about ’09 fifth round pick, Garrett Reynolds, as his possible replacement.

POLL RESULTS: Should the Falcons re-sign punter and kickoff specialist Michael Koenen?

  • Yes, he’s a stud and has great hang time. (71%, 497 Votes)
  • No, let the rookie have a chance. (29%, 199 Votes)

Total Voters: 696

So,  sign or don’t sign, Clabo?

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

35 comments Add your comment

Blue Fender

July 15th, 2011
7:42 am

He should do what’s best for him. Sure I would like the Falcons to keep him, but only at the right price.

Mitch (the one in Rome)

July 15th, 2011
7:44 am

Can’t believe folks would elect to keep a punter. Limited resources. Definitely keep Clabo. If it comes down to keeping a pro-bowl OL you need to work that out some way. KEEP!

Alexander

July 15th, 2011
8:02 am

I wanted keep Clabo but not at that price, though he deserves a pay increase. Maybe we could afford him if JA 98 top=10 salary wasn’t on the books still and we still have two other OL to sign.

Mikefalcon63

July 15th, 2011
8:11 am

I am amazed that so many voted to keep Blalock here. In my opinion, the left side of the line is the weak side. If we can keep 2 out of the 3 free agent linemen, it needs to be Dahl and Clabo. They have been the most consistent and even carry their in-season relationship into the offseason, which means they work well together. Blalock can walk. Weems can walk. Norwood can walk. But we need Koenan, Snelling, Clabo, and Dahl.

Falcon Bill

July 15th, 2011
8:11 am

I sure would love to keep him, but he may be too expensive. We certainly can’t keep all three o-linemen. i don’t know all the cap implications, and quite frankly, that’s not the part of football on which i care to waste my time. I just want to watch ‘em play. A decision has to be made, and we have some of the best making those decisions. I believe in our team and the leadership, and I think we’ll be OK whatever the decision.

Bear

July 15th, 2011
8:17 am

Dahl and Clabo have the mean mentality that i wish all of are linemen had. Must Keep.

The Real Falcon

July 15th, 2011
8:24 am

This is why the owners are trying to include a “right-of-first-refusal” clause in the new contract.
No way we can keep all three otherwise. Left side is more important as the blindside.
Keeping it intact is what’s best.

Brenda

July 15th, 2011
8:33 am

I want us to keep Clabo and hope he doesn,t let money be the object of signing with the Falcons. I love my Falcons. Go Falcons.

Tman

July 15th, 2011
9:38 am

Letting all three offensive lineman go may be risky, but the Falcons believe in the backups, and they can be coached up by one of the best offensive line coaches in the league, Paul Boudreau. Here’s an idea- let them go, then spend that cap money on a DB (Asomugha or even Champ Bailey) and a DE (Ray Edwards or Charles Johnson). It makes sense. The Falcons lost in the playoffs because of defense, and this needs to be addressed.

PMC

July 15th, 2011
9:42 am

He’s probably going to ask for something in the 6 million a year range, considering the effort he’s put in for this team he deserves it.

When have we said…. oh man I’m really worried about Clabo? Doesn’t happen. Everyone pulls thier hair out about Baker on the left side.

fanATicaL

July 15th, 2011
10:05 am

Is there some way to collectively manipulate each free agent contract.So that we would be able to keep important personel.In an year with an hellacious schedule.With very little preseason prep.Chemistry on the offensive line is/should and will be of the upmost importance.How can we take advantage of this high powered offense if Matty can’t stay on his feet ?How can we take advantage of Jaquizz Rodgers interior elusiveness if we don’t have the upfront push ? and famaliarity of the playbook .
Yeah,I know Mike Johnson,Jose Valdez,Joe Hawley and Garret Reynolds are all waiting,but are they ready for this schedule ?

Ken Strickland

July 15th, 2011
10:06 am

After reading TClabo’s journey through the NFL and Europe, one can readily see he was little more than a journeyman until he came under the tutledge of OL coach PBoudreau. Clabo is a testiment to the man’s magic. All of us would like to keep as much of our OL intactas possible, but it’s just not economically feasible.

Using the money it would take to resign Clabo would be better spent signing a FA DE, like CJohnson or REdwards. We all know Clabo has likely reached his peak, while GReynolds has plenty of room for improvement. With the same type of OJT experience TClabo received under Boudreau, Reynolds could possibly end up being better the Clabo.

It just doesn’t make sense to spend the kind of money he’ll demand on a RT when we have GReynolds, JValdez & WSvitek waiting in the wings. The same holds true for HDahl, since OG MJohnson was definitely drafted to replace one of our starting OG’s, and that was intended to happen sooner rather than later. Blalock is the logical choice of the 2 OG’s.

He has several advantages over HDahl in that he’s bigger, younger, has more room for improvement, and can be resigned much cheaper.

SeenThisB4

July 15th, 2011
10:11 am

Wow, what a wardrobe! He’s in Manhatten getting ready to enter a Law firm.

He won’t be on Blackwell’s best dress list this year. Looks like he’s trying for that neo Georgia hillbilly look.

Ledbetter: Can’t you loan him a bow tie at least?

Clabo’s day as a falcan’t are numbered. Too much money, not enough talent.

hamp

July 15th, 2011
10:14 am

Keep him at the right price. We actually paid a grip when we franchised him. The resume on the puter we drafted looks pretty good, I say give him a try if you are a good punter, you are a good punter.

D Money

July 15th, 2011
10:44 am

I’m not so worried if clabo leaves. I expect Blalock and Snelling to be re-signed on the offensive side of the ball. We drafted Reynolds in the 5th round of 2009 so he has been learning behind Clabo for 2 years with the coaching of Boudreau. He also looked pretty good the little time he played last year. The same goes for Johnson. Plus, if you noticed, the Falcons had more trouble running the ball to the right side of the line than they did the left.

Ken Strickland

July 15th, 2011
10:46 am

FOOD FOR THOUGHT-Here’s what can happen if we resign Clabo and Dahl, or if we let them walk.

First, if we resign them:
1-We’d end up committing at least $50+M to the right side of our OL, with little chance of either player improving significantly.
2-It would seriously limit what we could spend to sign a FA DE, or some of our own FA’s, like RB JSnelling, K/P/WR EWeems and CB BGrimes.

Secondly, if we let them walk:
1-We could replace them with players already under contract, which would save us the entire $50+M.
2-In addition to letting them walk, we could also allow CB BGrimes and RB JSnelling walk as well, which might save us enough money to get into the bidding for CB Asomugha and sign a quality DE.

Please keep in mind that I’m not advocating we even think about doing #2. I do know there are a few sign Asomugha at all cost fanatics out there. I only see the Falcons making one big splash in FA, and that will be for a DE. With the amount of time OG MJohnson, OT GReynolds and JValdez have worked under Boudreau, I just can’t imagine them not being ready to take over at this point.

If Reynolds or valdez ends up taking over at RT, there’s no way they’ll move SBaker to RT. So, that means we’re either committed to LT SBaker, or he’ll be replaced sometime in the near future if he doesn’t improve. If the FA DE we sign produces, we should get a minimum of 20 sacks from our starting DE’s and 10 sacks from our starting DT’s. With the kind of help that would provide for our secondary, we should end up with a Superbowl caliber DEF.

One more thing, while DT CPeters had a solid season last yr, especially for a rookie, don’t be surprised to see a healthy PJerry reclaim his starting position. Jerry is probably our best interior pass rusher, which is why he was drafted. With PJerry and JBabineaux at DT and REdwards, or CJohnson and JAbraham at DE, OFF’s will be hard pressed to decide who to double team.

Steven A.

July 15th, 2011
10:50 am

Allow Clabo to walk…spend the money on defense again. They need a big cover corner at all cost. Need for a defensive end is “Overrated.”
Make a run at a non-prototypical 4-3 end, ie…Cullen Jenkins.

AlanFalcon

July 15th, 2011
11:26 am

Major mistake if Clabo is allowed to leave, this is a hard to replace player with a good attitude and the ability to get nasty when necessary. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GO FALCONS AND GO SOUTHERN RUSH

Rikus

July 15th, 2011
1:28 pm

“But since the White signing, the Falcons have had a defacto freeze on contract extensions, signaling that they might be running out of cash.”

I think they’ve been holding off on any long contracts because they didn’t know what the structure of the next CBA would be. I think it’s smart. Why commit your money for years to come, without knowing the Cap rules? I’m hoping they do the right thing, after the lockout ends, and re-sign a lot of our guys to long contracts.

This Gets Old!

July 15th, 2011
1:47 pm

Even if you don’t sign Clabo you’re not going to go out and spend that money on Asomugha. Who’s he going to replace Robinson or Grimes? Don’t think so. Clabo deserves more money and that what the business is about. He won’t get it here but he deserves it.

SirReal

July 15th, 2011
2:12 pm

I like the Dahl/Clabo tandem….but the money’s gonna be an issue.

The Tyson Clabo Market

July 15th, 2011
2:26 pm

[...] excited [about free agency],” Clabo said in an interview with D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s something that I felt that I’d earned last year and didn’t get. So [...]

BubbaNuker

July 15th, 2011
2:33 pm

FalconJim

July 15th, 2011
2:56 pm

Yes, KEEP HIM!!! We need the continuity on the O-line. A change could put Matty Ice at risk…

bama52

July 15th, 2011
4:25 pm

Don’t spend to much money on Clabo.

Steven A.

July 15th, 2011
5:03 pm

Clabo is a(B+)overaciever, who will get (A+) money, from someone. He just happens to be in right place at the right time.

James Harrison

July 15th, 2011
5:05 pm

“Clabo has too much body fat and he is greatly overhyped.”

RONK

July 15th, 2011
5:05 pm

Clabo and Dahl are the work horses and I mean stud horses, definitely keep this combo!

Kane337

July 15th, 2011
6:22 pm

Clabo and Dahl are good players but they aren’t exactly blowing people off the line of scrimmage. Turner’s numbers have been down the last couple of years. How often have we seen those 1 and 2 yard runs on first and second down. Matt Ryan has to bail them out on 3rd and long all the time.

darren

July 15th, 2011
8:54 pm

The team has no interest in Blaylock. He was a early 2nd round pick and will yield Atlanta a fourth round compensation pick. I think Blaylock and either Clabo or Dahl are gone. The falcons have drafted for this. I think next year We will have a new center in Hawley. The falcons will continue to draft developmental lineman that can be on the team 1-3 years beore starting. The only lineman that should be highly paid is the left tackle. The remaining line can be players developed to fit our system. In the NFL OG and ROT can be mid round picks if they have time to adjust to NFL and System. If the falcons use this system CAP room will be much easier to manage.

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution Watch THE LION OF JUDAH MOVIE- Review for yourself Lion of Judah The Movie- visit the official [...]

David F

July 16th, 2011
5:28 pm

Clabo should rember that until he came to the Falcons .He was not even a starter .

D man

July 17th, 2011
9:31 am

Let him go, he will be too expensive to keep and we have greater needs like CB and DE.

Gritz Blitz's annoying cousin

July 18th, 2011
11:48 am

mel kipper??? haha….he is not worth 35 to 45 million…neither is claybo

THE INFAMOUS DK

July 19th, 2011
10:34 am

Ummm I think we need defense and if we need to cut let Clabo go with the wind then so be.. We need a Monster DE that can get after the QB. That instantly improves our secondary and defense as a whole. Clabo better recognize its a bunch of dudes out there that went for the money and dont have Superbowl rings.. After its all said and done the money meane nothing the ring is what really matters.. And The Falcons are building a dynasty and will win a Superbowl shortly.