Falcons agree to terms with running back 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)

Running back Jason Snelling, who tested the free agency waters last season before returning to the Falcons, agreed to terms with the team on a three-year, $4 million contract Thursday.

Snelling, 5-11, 234 pounds, was originally selected by the Falcons in the seventh round (244th overall) of the 2007 NFL draft.

Last season, Snelling rushed for 151 yards on 44 carries. He also added 26 receptions for 179 yards and one touchdown.

In five seasons  with the Falcons,  Snelling has totaled 1,192 yards on 300 carries with seven touchdowns while adding 107 catches for 827 yards and five touchdowns.

Snelling is the fourth player the Falcons have re-signed or tagged in order to keep them from becoming free agents on Tuesday.

The Falcons placed the franchise tag on cornerback Brent Grimes on Monday.

Starting free safety Thomas DeCoud signed a five-year, $21 million contract, tight end Michael Palmer and running back Antone Smith signed their exclusive rights contracts on Tuesday. On Wednesday, defensive end Kroy Biermann signed a three-year, $12 million contract.

Negotiations with defensive end John Abraham, the team’s sack leader, are in a holding pattern. Negotiations with middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, the team’s leading tackler, were termed “amicable,” but no deal has been reached.

Here are the rest of the Falcons’ prospective free agents: offensive tackle Kirk Chambers, wide receiver Harry Douglas, cornerback Kelvin Hayden, tight end Reggie Kelly, center Todd McClure, linebacker Mike Peterson, quarterback Chris Redman, offensive guard/center Brett Romberg, wide receiver Eric Weems and long snapper Joe Zelenka.

–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.

117 comments Add your comment


March 8th, 2012
10:34 am

Interesting….. am I first?


March 8th, 2012
10:38 am

Looks like the Falcons also have a “core” (shout out to Rick Sund ). I think we go D-heavy in this years draft.


March 8th, 2012
10:39 am

Seems like the Falcons may be planning to return their RB corps from last year. Antone Smith has been re-signed too. Unless they plan on releasing Turner, it doesn’t seem likely the Falcons will pursue any free agent RBs. If they bring in a rookie, it will likely be a late round pick or undrafted free agent to compete for a roster sport.

Bubba Bean

March 8th, 2012
10:40 am

Great news! Now cut Turner and use the $$ for Mario Williams.

Jeff B

March 8th, 2012
10:43 am

Great to have Snelling back, he’s proved more than capable of picking up the slack for Turner. Hopefully they’ll rotate these guys more this season, instead of overworking Turner until he gets hurt!

DOL, let us know when you hear the contract terms.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 8th, 2012
10:46 am

Jeff — Will update.

t reeder

March 8th, 2012
10:49 am


Mr. Mustard

March 8th, 2012
10:49 am

Interesting off season, watching Dimitroff’s decision making. With the new coaches and acknowledgement of need for change, I am encouraged and excited.

Nolan always has a good defense, and man we needed to a new scheme with ours.

Hope we sign some free agents for the offensive line, and defensive line, and with much gratitude for Abraham, he needs to go.

Michael Turner is clearly slowing down, but maybe we get one more productive year from him, as long as we mix it up with Rodgers.

Go Falcons.

the silverman

March 8th, 2012
10:49 am

Very interesting. This cant be good for Turner. I dont see why Snelling would re-sign knowing he wont get a majority of the carries unless something else is going to change. I have read the articles about them cutting down Turner’s carries but most of them talk about rodgers getting those carries.


March 8th, 2012
10:51 am

bubba bean
are you crazy??? you do realize how many total yards turner puts up right, you do know how many TD’s, etc. sure you might see him a lot of the time get only 5 yards. but get two of those and you got a first down. Falcons use Turner way to much and need to split his carries as well.
but just watch what will happen with the line. because new coach’s will make this better. Koetter is a pro at making lines great for RB. and you might say he stunk at coaching because of the lack of yardage, etc from jags. but you have to realize he had ZERO players except for his RB.

also Williams is now injury prone. do you really want a player who starts out great at the beginning of the season and then gets hurt. Cause I know I hate it when I see Abraham do that. also for the money Williams will make that means that it will be about 1 million a sack, based on his performances. it would be over paying.


March 8th, 2012
10:57 am

Ovie is gone.

Snelling is going to be our hybrid fullback/runningback

Hockey Biltong

March 8th, 2012
11:01 am

Who got Ovie?


March 8th, 2012
11:07 am

Whoa, we need to keep Turner. His production fell off with Ovie hurt. If we need room to sign a FA (not Super Mario, but Carl Nicks!), restructure Ovie’s deal, but keep both. If we re-sign Lofton and get Nicks, I’m golden and can focus on draft needs.


March 8th, 2012
11:12 am

I don’t see them keeping Ovie either Formul8or. Look for the Birds to go after Grubbs or Nicks for the Oline.


March 8th, 2012
11:14 am

Great news to have Snelling back. I think it will be status quo on offence except for an Olineman or 2 and the emphasis will be on defense.

No need to get all worked up. March 13th draweth nigh. We’ll see TD get busy in FAgency.

DLed, why wouldn’t we make a play for Mario? He is the most disruptive Dlineman in the NFL, period. Apart from #18 he is the most valuable free agent on the market and if we are serious about winning a Superbowl soon, then this is the guy we must have. It’s no secret we have lacked a consistent pass rush over the last 4 seasons and we keep putting band aids on these “cuts” every year. Time to heal the wound and get the perfect antidote. We can dominate the division by doing this one move. This guy not only rushes the QB but he disrupts offensive possessions every time that ball is snapped.

It will cost us yes but if you don’t invest then you will be forever mediocre just like most of the rest.

Nuff respect!!

Go Falcons!!

Ron Roberts

March 8th, 2012
11:21 am

I actually wish they’d use Jason Snelling MORE than they do. As tentative as Turner is, sometimes, in wanting to inflict his will on a hole in the d-line, Jason Snelling just plows ahead. Plus, he’s got good hands for the occasional screen or short dump pass. I liken him to what Turner was behind LaDainian Tomlinson; by that, I mean a guy who could go start for someone else and do well.

Row 3

March 8th, 2012
11:24 am

Time to sign HD


March 8th, 2012
11:25 am

Gratz Big Snell you deserve it bro. Now the question is how long til we cut / trade Ovie, and do we draft a RB and let Turner go? This draft is pretty deep on running backs that can be had in 2nd and 3rd rounds. Plus can we get a pick in exchange for Turner? We just can’t keep a starting back that can’t receive coming out of the backfield anymore.

DJ Sniper

March 8th, 2012
11:26 am

Good move. I was thinking that we would go after a RB in the draft, but now that Snelling has re-upped, we probably won’t. My hope now is that Dirk Koetter uses him more than Mularkey did.

A friend with some good sources regarding the Falcons says that the team has put together a 7 year, $105 million deal for Mario Williams. $35 million guaranteed, with cap hits of $10 million this year and $11 million next season. I say go for it!

Chub Rock

March 8th, 2012
11:29 am

Michael Turner is not going anywhere so you guys may as well drop it. Coach has already said Turner WILL be back next season. When that dude on ESPN called some Falcon fans fickle he was right. Michael Turner is the best RB in the history of the Falcons organization and some of you crabs wanna throw the guy away with the trash. Some of you literally cried when Brian Finneran was not resign and this guy was not the best player at anything but Michael Turner needs to be cut. Pathetic! Jason Snelling is not a 1st string back if he was he’d be one for another team by now. Half of you know NOTHING about football you just regurgitate what you hear that you like from someone else’s posting. Michael Turner gained 1340 yards at an average of 4.5 yards a carry last season. For those of you who have never worn a jockstrap in your lives…those are darn good numbers. Michael Turner statistically was the 3rd ranked RB in the ENTIRE league last season. YES 3rd ranked RB in the league. No fan is his or her right mind and with any real knowledge of football wants to just cut the 3rd ranked RB in the league. Unless Michael Tuner ceases to be one of the top RB in the entire NFL between now and the end of next season he will finish out his contract so you may as well STFU about cutting Turner because as long as the guy is producing at a high level he will be a Falcon.


March 8th, 2012
11:32 am

Wow! Another goof by Thomas and Co. Only way this makes since is to cut or trade Turner,which I dont see happening. The crap goes on!


March 8th, 2012
11:34 am

If we can’t get Super Mario then Carl Nicks is a MUST!!! Protection is one thing Matt will need this year because he needs more time in that pocket rather than have it collapse around him.

Would he defect to the enemy though? I guess money makes the mare gallop!!

Go Falcons!!

Tale of Woe

March 8th, 2012
11:36 am

WOW! 3 years for 4Million. That is nothing. I would dump turner and get younger at RB. Snelling is much more versiltile than Turner at this stage in their careers. Draft another RB to fill the Turner void.


March 8th, 2012
11:39 am

4 mil for 3 years. Even if you dont want Snelling its too cheap to complain


March 8th, 2012
11:42 am

Now, let’s get Lofton re-signed!!

[...] Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC is reporting that the Falcons have re-signed running back Jason Snelling to a three-year, $4 million [...]


March 8th, 2012
11:51 am

We need hogs in the trenches both ways. Sign Mario and Nicks. Should be no problem doing that, right?


March 8th, 2012
11:52 am

Was that $4 mill/year or $4 mill total?


March 8th, 2012
11:53 am

So far, best news of the period! We need Snelling’s versatility. Credit Smitty and Dimitroff for not playing him much last year to showcase his skills. Sadly, Jason didn’t have too many other options. Now we must round out our internal signings by locking up:

Curtis Lofton
Harry Douglas
James Sanders

All else is variable. Sign a tackle (Gaither) , a guard (maybe the guy from Baltimore) and a mid-career defensive end that is trending up. Stay away from Nicks and #90 from Houston. Too much $$$. Line up and play.


DJ Sniper

March 8th, 2012
11:56 am

We don’t have the money for Williams and Nicks. Nicks wants a deal similar to the one that Jahari Evans got.


March 8th, 2012
12:01 pm

Dled with all the signings do you have an any idea where this leaves us in regards to cap space? I know the 2012 number is not out yet but I keep hearing we will only have 5 to 7 million left even after the new cap number.


March 8th, 2012
12:24 pm

Wow,im surprised that no one yet commented on the team resigning decoud.He was trashed and labeled super sorry by the atlanta fans.LOL


March 8th, 2012
12:36 pm

ASHCAN; Decoud is not good, special teams and backup should be his role. Dont be suprised if Saunders ,I hope wins out at the free safety spot.

True Falcon Fan

March 8th, 2012
12:47 pm

Where are you JSS —- “Wondrous Wizard do OZ” —- ole great Merlin the prognosticator, predictor of Falcon “IMPLOSION”

Go Falcons —- Snelling great signing, very good person!


March 8th, 2012
12:51 pm

@ASHCAN, there is another article for the Decoud signing and the majority of folks were upset with it and that was before the real numbers hit. At first the leaks were saying about 3 million a year now it’s apparent that we are stuck with him since he’s being paid 5 mill a year.


March 8th, 2012
12:52 pm

Good deal, solid #2 back. Cut Turner and go get what we need on D!

loyal falcon

March 8th, 2012
1:01 pm



March 8th, 2012
1:02 pm

So here are some very rough numbers on the cap situation
Grimes 10 mill
Decoud 4.2 mill
Biermann 4 mill
Snelling 1.33 mill
Smith ???
Palmer ???
So right now we are at least 19.5 million in for the offseason. Word going into the offseason is that we were around 20 million under the cap. Hmmmmmm……I don’t see how we can bring in Mario or Nicks without some dudes getting pink slips in the next few days.


March 8th, 2012
1:05 pm

Good deal!!! I’ve always liked Snelling. He’s a very durable and versatile back. Hope we can still keep Turner for another year or two…..either that, or find a cheap RB in FA, and get Turner’s replacement in one of the later rounds of the draft.


March 8th, 2012
1:05 pm

jay- 5 years at 21 million is 4 million a year. Not so great for 2012 and 2013 but with the cap jump in 2014 this could be a steal if he keeps getting better!


March 8th, 2012
1:07 pm

I say keep Turner. He could come in handy on 4th and 1.


March 8th, 2012
1:10 pm

“Michael Turner is the best RB in the history of the Falcons organization and some of you crabs wanna throw the guy away with the trash.”

Turner has had a great run with the Falcons, but the old adage is that you’d rather get rid of a running back one year early than one year too late. Turner just turned 30, which is usually the age when running backs hit the wall. Although he was still productive last year, it was clear that the same type of explosiveness through the hole that we saw Turner display in 2008 and 2009 wasn’t there anymore.

It’s not that I want to throw him away with the trash, as you say. He’s been a great Falcon. It’s just that you have to be savvy enough to recognize when a running back is going downhill. Sometimes that means making a hard decision to get rid of a guy who’s been very productive.

I hope Turner has one good year left, because he will be back in 2012, like you said. I’m just not very optimistic.


March 8th, 2012
1:14 pm

As for RB, to me Snelling and Turner are the same back except Snelling can actually catch the ball. We really needed a big hitter RB based on how this offense works. The way our line opens holes is there are going to be 1-3 plays a game where the back needs to take the rock to the house. The problem with Turner is he can’t make it to the end zone without getting caught from behind. Love the guy, but we aren’t a ground and pound system anymore and he isn’t as tough as he was 3 years ago. I think they’ll use him for one more season.


March 8th, 2012
1:17 pm

Here’s a good link about the Decoud signing. Cap hit this year only 1.5 million. can’t beat that for a starting free safety!

DC Dirty Bird

March 8th, 2012
1:19 pm

If Ovie can be cut, he’s likely gone. Koetter used hybrid FB/RB Greg Jones with Maurice Jones Drew and runs a lot of single back sets.

Do you know our salary cap situation as of the latest signing?

the silverman

March 8th, 2012
1:21 pm

@jay I think those numbers will be lower based on the contracts. Most contracts in the back loaded with salary numbers and the guranteed money being paid early. Also Grimes’s salary doesnt hit the Falcons cap until/if he signs the tender which it looks like he wont.

the silverman

March 8th, 2012
1:22 pm

*Most contracts in the NFL


March 8th, 2012
1:24 pm

I think Turner is DONE in Atlanta. I also think the falcons will be trading him next month draft. This is a better back in Snelling because he can run and catch the ball. Turner cost too much for a back that has not committed himself too the falcons. Turner has ate and ate his way out of Georgia and really had gained too much weigh and this is why he cannot stay health in a season. I think is is gone


March 8th, 2012
1:26 pm

UPDATE: Details of the contract have leaked. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the deal as such:

Safety Thomas Decoud’s new deal with Atlanta is a 5-year, $17.5 million base package, including $4 million in guarantees money.

The Falcons get a brilliant deal here and don’t have to overspend for a starter. Fans will love seeing that Decoud will be back in Atlanta for another 5 years. Projecting that the contract is structured as such:
5 years, $17.5 million total with $4 million signing bonus pro-rated over 5 years.

2012 – $700k Base Salary, $800k pro-rated signing bonus = $1.5 million cap hit

2013 – $1.7 million Base Salary, $800k pro-rated signing bonus = $2.5 million cap hit

2014 – $3.5 million Base Salary, $800k pro-rated signing bonus = $4.3 million cap hit

2015 – $3.7 million Base Salary, $800k pro-rated signing bonus = $4.5 million cap hit

2016 – $3.9 million Base Salary, $800k pro-rated signing bonus = $4.7 million cap hit


March 8th, 2012
1:27 pm

These guys are giddy… You talk about folks being injury prone on one hand, then on the other hand sign folks who are just that, injury prone (or have sustained huge injuries)…

Because of the broken jaw did the market for Snelling shrink? Also will his head injury (even though it was a jaw) put him in the concussion protocol?