Free Agency Arrival and Mock Mania 2.0

Free Agency is Here!

 ((((Free Agent Updates)))) – Any and all free agent updates will be provided in The Cage as soon as they become known, Falcons and  NFL.

It’s Christmas Eve for football junkies and front offices alike as the Free Agency is ready to kick off in a matter of hours. This year was supposed to be comprised of little activity and only a few big name players donning new uniforms with the failure of the NFL to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. That doesn’t seem to be the case at all as the deadline nears. With so many teams electing to limit players tenders or outright release them, the market has gained momentum. Who knew the following players would all be available when the signing period begins: Julius Peppers, Terrell Owens, Ladanian Tomlinson, Antrel Rolle, Thomas Jones, Darren Sharper, and Brian Westbrook. Granted, some of the players are a little past their prime, but the shear number of high-profile names makes for good entertainment and destination tracking.

Latest word from Steve Wyche of NFL.com is that the Falcons are extremely interested in cornerback Dunta Robinson and have evidently been coveting him for awhile, according to Wyche.

This would be a big departure from Dimitroff’s dealings in last year’s free agency period, where he sat tight and added a few pieces, but nothing of great note. He has been known for adding a few big guys in free agency, really just one in Michael Turner in the Falcons first year. Erik Coleman could be considered in that group, but he was coming off an injury-riddled season. If the Falcons are in fact in the market for a free agent cornerback, it certainly would make a ton of sense. If the Falcons could sign Dunta Robinson it would eliminate a huge need in the secondary, while also giving TD and the front office much more flexibility in the draft.

Here’s an excellent breakdown of the Top 50 Free Agents according to Pat Kirwan of the NFL Network:

Besides potentially nabbing Dunta Robinson, take a glance at the list and make your case for other free agents Dimitroff and gang should be targeting as the Free Agent Season begins.

Reading the Free Agent Tender Leaves

It’s next to impossible to get inside the head of general managers concerning their intentions with players. The poker they play with sports agents and other teams can be high-stakes, but the required actions of restricted free agent tenders can give a glimpse on their aims. Dimitroff and the Falcons front office issued the following free agent tenders on their restricted free agents:

Tyson Clabo and Harvey Dahl – 1st Round Tenders

This was something that many fans and local media alike believed would happen. Clabo and Dahl were practice squad participants that were salvaged by the Falcons and turned into one of the best offensive lines in football, at least in 2008. They helped pave the way for the second highest rushing team in the NFL and helped send Michael Turner to the Pro Bowl, while also keeping Matt Ryan upright long enough to garner Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Took a marked step back last year with run blocking and pass blocking. OL Coach Boudreau obviously likes them well enough to give them one more shot, which they really deserve. As expected, TD is likely using this to his advantage to see which one, or both, should be locked up long-term. Also gives the Falcons another year to develop Tackles Garrett Reynolds and Will Svitek to see what they have in them.

Michael Koenen – 2nd Round Tender

Koenen is the really easy part. The Falcons felt highly enough of Punter Michael Koenen to slap the franchise tag on him, making him one of the highest punters in the NFL. He’s one of the best in the league and no one in their right mind will give up a second rounder for Koenen. Likely just delaying the inevitable where they’ll have to lock him up to a long-term deal next off-season.

Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling – 2nd Round Tenders

This is where it gets really interesting. It was widely believed that the Falcons offered Jerious Norwood a 1st round tender and Jason Snelling a 2nd round tender, which would lead many to believe that the Falcons valued Norwood over Snelling. Hard to understand since Snelling had a breakout year of sorts and became the workhorse to help destroy the curse once and for all. Norwood has been boatloads of potential, but injuries sidelined him for most of last season.

TD and the front office may believe that no teams will be willing to part with a second rounder for Snelling and/or Norwood, or they have found enough interest to get back into the second round after dealing for Tony Gonzalez last year. Snelling, in particular, was mentioned by NFL Network as one of the Restricted Free Agents that could be targeted. It’s impossible for teams to keep good running back tandems together too long, especially three. One will probably be a part of the Falcons long-term future, and one will likely be headed elsewhere at some point.

5th Round Tender – Quinn Ojinnaka

Dimitroff and Co. obviously covet Ojinnaka as a crucial backup who can easily step into a role and is extremely versatile. Started off playing tackle after being drafted, but has been moved to guard and evidently has found a home. He fought off stiff competition from many rookies and vets alike brawling for a job on the 53 man roster. Almost will definitely return, but the team reportedly plans on drafting a guard/center in April.

No Tenders or Contracts

Chris Redman – Appears that he will hit the open market at midnight. The Falcons reportedly want to re-sign him after the market almost assuredly drive down his price as one of the highest paid backup QB’s in the league. Will be interesting to watch this one play out.

Safeties Antoine Harris, Charlie Peprah, and Jamaal Fudge – Definite backups for sure. Harris is the most valuable of the group with his superb special teams skills. Fudge has been on and off the team for the last two years and could add depth. Peprah came on late after the injuries to William Moore and Antoine Harris. Hopefully, the return of a healthy William Moore will cut down the backup spot to one.

Mock Mania 2.0

Second edition of what the experts and draftniks are slotting for the Falcons @ #19 in April:

DraftCountdown.com – Sergio Kindle/OLB/Texas

NFLDraftBlitz.com – Carlos Dunlap/DE/Florida

FootballsFuture.com – Brandon Graham/DE/Michigan

WalterFootball.com – Brandon Graham/DE/Michigan

BleacherReport.com – Golden Tate/WR/Notre Dame (wow)

NFL.com/Pat Kirwan – Jason Pierre-Paul/DE/South Florida

NFLDraftDog.com – Brandon Graham/DE/Michigan

MyNFLDraft.com – Brandon Graham/DE/Michigan

Fftoolbox.com (3) – Brandon Graham/DE/Michigan – Sergio Kindle/OLB/Texas – Everson Griffen/DE/USC

Let’s hear it Bird Cage:

-Are you anxiously excited about Dunta Robinson coming to the ATL? Or is it a mistake?

-Do all the tenders sound about right?

-If given the choice, who would you rather keep: Snelling or Norwood?

-Is it a lock that Brandon Graham is coming to Atlanta?

Check Out DOL’s Free Agent Bonanza

Come follow The Bird Cage on Twitter (D3_Falcons) for some great instant free agent updates.

Enjoy and GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!………

411 comments Add your comment

ATLJBO

March 4th, 2010
11:32 pm

whats up D3…. It looks like its going to be an active night

Gary

March 4th, 2010
11:34 pm

WEATHERSPOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ATLJBO

March 4th, 2010
11:54 pm

Hamad Meander

March 4th, 2010
11:55 pm

I’m with Gary. I want Weatherspoon. The dude is a complete package. We need outside linebackers.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 4th, 2010
11:56 pm

1) I would keep Snelling, simply because of durability issues. Speed is of no use if it is in the training room.

2) If Robinson happens I say good move simply because a) it gives flexibility in the draft, fewer holes to fill, b) new scenery/coaching could revitalize his career, c) veteran experience could help the younger guys mature more quickly d) worst case, he is still an improvement over Houston and the Falcons seem to have a few extra million in the budget now that the Vick albatross has left the team neck.

3) According to D-led who seems to definitely have his ear to the ground at Falcon HQ, DE is NOT a high priority, which leads to interesting draft day trade scenarios if someone gets an itch for a high rated CB or even Spiller (like NE, for example), or snag a quality olb or even a surprise LT if quality is there. Graham could always shift positions, but D-led indicated that the Falcons had him listed as DL. It is still possible of course, but I suspect it depends on draft day trade scenarios and value left on the board

Resign or Resign?

March 5th, 2010
12:06 am

Don’t know why Kindle’s stock is dropping; he is a monster and a top 8 pick in most mock drafts. I’d take him in a heartbeat over Weatherspoon. See NC game vs ‘Bama.

Resign or Resign?

March 5th, 2010
12:13 am

Robinson is asking for more than “a few extra million” and some team more desperate for CBs than the Falcons (see Lions, Rams, etc.) will pay him more than he is worth.
Ajarn, I quite agree on Snelling; he has always impressed me whenever given an opportunity to play, even if only on ST.

Resign or Resign?

March 5th, 2010
12:18 am

Why is SD cutting loose Sproles? I’m also wondering why the Vikes released Chester Taylor. I also think that the Jets will regret letting Thomas Jones leave; though he did slow down toward the end of the season.

Resign or Resign?

March 5th, 2010
12:19 am

Well, D3; great post as usual; but since everyone has gone to bed, I guess I will, too. Good Night, y”all.

FalconfanMike

March 5th, 2010
12:20 am

We need robinson we need him and he wants us its perfect!

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
12:29 am

I don’t feel the Dunta Robinson move. With only 13 unterceptions over seven years, what value does he bring that we can not find in what we have. He is not much bigger than the current CB roster. I certainly hope this is not a rush move. There is a reason that Houston threw in the towel on this guy. We had better do our homework. IMHO, we would do better to draft Brandon Ghee. He could be there in the third.

Brian Hunt

March 5th, 2010
12:31 am

John Clayton is reporting that Redman resigned for $5 mil over two years. FTW, I’d keep Snelling over Norwood because he is more consistent and productive.

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
12:36 am

Snelling could be an attractive target for the Eagles who need depth at RB and FB. Watch this carefully as we will regret letting him go. Norwood is not as appealing of a pick as most think. We will retain Clabo and Dahl…a very good move as the OL will re-emerge as a force this season.

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
12:40 am

Great news if in fact we retain Redman.

Sarah B

March 5th, 2010
12:41 am

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
12:44 am

No change in the draft pick: Sean Weatherspoon should be the pick. This is a no-brainer!!

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
12:45 am

Hi Sarah. How are you?

Sarah B

March 5th, 2010
12:48 am

Hanging in there SW, had a good interview today :)

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
12:51 am

Glad to hear that my dear. I wish nothing but the best for you.

Big Ray

March 5th, 2010
12:51 am

Hmmmm…interesting developments. Would we really pick up Dunta Robinson?

Sarah B

March 5th, 2010
12:56 am

We need to have a Cage meet-up at the Branch this Spring!

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
12:59 am

Sarah, I concur. Big Ray, I’m not feeling the move but appears to be gaining momentum.

darrell starks

March 5th, 2010
1:00 am

TD DUNTA ROBINSON IS A SMART MOVE.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!

Sarah B

March 5th, 2010
1:02 am

DS please take the caps key off.

Wabe

March 5th, 2010
1:02 am

The Cromartie to the Jets deal was a surprise to me. Didn’t think the Jets could pull something like that off.

Revis/Cromartie = best combo in the league

Sarah B

March 5th, 2010
1:03 am

Night All I’m out.

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
1:05 am

What is the difference between Brian Williams and Dunta Robinson? I don’t see it.

Sarah B

March 5th, 2010
1:06 am

Hill will be cut… gotta go to bed now.

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
1:06 am

Good night Sarah..,breaking right here as well. Good night from the Sooner State.

Box

March 5th, 2010
1:10 am

SW,
I agree, but TD must see something, or we will all wake up tomorrow and it will have all been his agent’s hype to drive up the market price. I don’t remember this kind of leak with MTurner or BWilliams. TD palys much closer to the vest.

Box

March 5th, 2010
1:11 am

Good night BBG.

Box

March 5th, 2010
1:12 am

palys =plays

darrell starks

March 5th, 2010
1:14 am

What all the noise about brent grimes any way, he is horrible on any other nfl team he wont starte but us falcons fans say he is good that a big joke specially for a franchise who have never won nothing.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

Big Ray

March 5th, 2010
1:14 am

Night, y’aaaaaaalllll….

Big Ray

March 5th, 2010
1:14 am

SeminoleWarrior,

Good damn question…

darrell starks

March 5th, 2010
1:23 am

Brent grimes make plays because of the style of defense, he is a perfect cover 2 corner but not good at all on 1 – 1 coverage, when you have corner who cant play on a island by him self that force your defense in 2 more zone coverage witch make it hard for your defense end 2 make plays, until we get solid corner our defense ends will have hard time getting 2 the QB.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!

Box

March 5th, 2010
1:23 am

From CBSSPORTS.COM
The Falcons agreed to terms on a two-year, $5 million contract with backup quarterback Chris Redman, marking the first transaction of the uncapped era.

darrell starks

March 5th, 2010
1:34 am

Thats 2 much money for a back up like chris redman, i hope TD make good moves this year, its the tell of the tate in his third year as GM.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 5th, 2010
1:34 am

D3: Redman signed right before hitting market. Two years, 5.6 million.

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
1:39 am

13 interceptions in seven years and I am supposed to get excited over Dunta Robinson? I don’t think so. I see no value in this if Brian Williams is making the kind of progress with his recovery that it appears he is and that has been reported.

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
1:42 am

2.5 million a year for a viable veteran backup is a good deal. He knows the system and the team respects him in the huddle. No better value at the backup QB.

Seminole Warrior

March 5th, 2010
1:45 am

Box, I am with you. I simply do not feel the Robinson vibe. And I agree. It is not like TD to let such a move leak out.

darrell starks

March 5th, 2010
2:07 am

Seminole dont be trick by the numbers shown on dunta he is a solid corner and will be the best on the team.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!

darrell starks

March 5th, 2010
2:08 am

CROMARTIE 2 THE JETS WOW!!!!!!! the falcons could have had him easy big miss TD.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

March 5th, 2010
2:09 am

DUNTA 2 THE FALCONS GOOD MOVE.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!

darrell starks

March 5th, 2010
2:13 am

Is it possible that JOE HADEN slip 2 19# lets cross our finger falcons fan.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

March 5th, 2010
2:14 am

DUNTA, JOE HADEN, blitz all day long.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

Box

March 5th, 2010
2:19 am

DS
How can I get a portion of your stash? Haden to #19? Only a distorted forty time. If you are right and I am wrong, I bow to you.

Box

March 5th, 2010
2:21 am

Good night Late Night.

Ed

March 5th, 2010
3:07 am

Terrific stuff D3…you continue to amaze with your ability to juggle so much and still keep the blogs coming. Robinson’s attitude really concerns me. If you’re concerned about a “me” attitude, steer clear, otherwise he’d definitely be a nice pickup. You can’t judge a CB strictly on interceptions as it may signal and unwillingness of QB’s to throw his way.

I totally agree with the blogsites you posted. Both Graham and Kindle can pressure the QB and can play either DE or OLB which makes them very versatile. As we all know TD likes that in his players…Weatherspoon is strictly a LB although he can play both inside and outside. Pressure on the QB is the main need of our defense as opposed to focusing on a specific position.