Should the Falcons pursue left tackle Marcus McNeill if he is waived by the San Diego Chargers?
Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the McNeill, who played at Cedar Grove High and Auburn, is expected to be waived by the Chargers in March over health concerns about his neck.
For one, they will likely clear the books of $10 million by waiving left tackle Marcus McNeill. McNeill has to be cleared by a team doctor by the third day of the new league year, which begins March 13, or his 2012 salary is not guaranteed. McNeill is not expected to get a clean bill of health from the Chargers.
When healthy, McNeill has been one of the best left tackles in the league. He’s been selected to two Pro Bowls.
One of the Falcons’ main objectives is to improve their offensive line this offseason. Will Svitek and Sam Baker started games at left tackle last season.
The Falcons have medically passed players with neck concerns in the past. Kevin Mathis, Coy Wire and Kelvin Hayden have all been cleared by the Falcons after suffering neck injuries.
Last season, six teams flunked Hayden before the Falcons cleared him and he signed a one-year deal. He ended the season on injured reserve with a dislocated/turf toe.
McNeil, who turned 28 in November, is massive at 6-foot-7 and 336 pounds. His neck and back injuries have led to him playing in just 20 of 32 games over the past two seasons.
Over the first four seasons in the league, McNeill started 62 out of a possible 64 games. He was selected in the second round (50th overall) of the 2006 NFL draft.
The Falcons’ athletic performance staff will have to make sure McNeil is healthy and then try to get a functional movement screen on him. There might be a simple weight or muscle imbalance that can be corrected to alleviate his neck and spine issues.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog