Will You Panic if Falcons Make No Moves?

Worried About Free Agency?

Nicholas Headed to NY? (B.Sanderlin/AJC)

Rejoice Bird Cagers, Falcons and Football are both back! Currently out of town, but wanted to get a new post up and question regarding our Beloved Birds since the lockout is officially over.

Of course its all speculation at this point, but word from our main Falcons man D. Orlando Ledbetter is that the Falcons are taking themselves out of the running for Minnesota Defensive End Ray Edwards and that Panthers DE Charles Johnson won’t make it out of Carolina. In the same report, Ledbetter says that Stephen Nicholas is rumored to be heading to the Giants of New York.

This leads to the big question: Will you panic if the Falcons stay put and don’t make a move in free agency?

Bird Cage Take

It’s debatable whether or not the Falcons need to add a top-tier defensive end and pay a king’s ransom for either Ray Edwards or Charles Johnson (which is likely to happen since the market is pretty thin at DE). Kroy Biermann had an excellent year according to ProFootballFocus in almost every category except sacks. Whether or not Biermann can make the jump is up for debate. Some believe that its almost a lock for #71 to make the jump this year to at least as many sacks as Edwards has collared the last two years (8) and that it would be too big a risk for them overpaying for someone who may or may not have benefited from having some other studs on the defensive line (Jared Allen, Pat Williams, Kevin Williams).

No New DE?

If the Falcons don’t feel that Edwards is the right fit for the right price, than they definitely deserve the benefit of the doubt with their track record the past three seasons and off-seasons. It’s hard to imagine Charles Johnson not being a good fit, but he may not make it out of Carolina and could be priced through the roof, especially considering the amount of their own players they need to re-sign. If they feel that a new DE is not worth it, than they get the benefit of the doubt for sure, but it’s a pretty big risk in and of itself since Biermann will have high pressure on him to match expectations and Lawrence Sidbury has put-up or shut-up year ahead of him but he couldn’t even make it onto the field at all last year.

In-House Talent Enough?

Chauncey Davis is a good backup, but not much more. We know the deal with Jamaal Anderson. Cliff Matthews and newly signed Ryan Winterswyck will be fighting for roster spots and are projects at best. It’s a risk for sure, and the other main problem is that they will likely find themselves in this exact same position a year from now when John Abraham’s contract is up. Put simply, the Falcons will have to address the defensive end position eventually. Maybe the advent of trio of Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters, and Peria Jerry will free up the new defensive ends.

Even though everyone in the media believe that the Falcons MUST get a defensive end, the Falcons front brass obviously know what they have in-house and they may be just waiting for Abraham’s 8 million dollar salary to expire next year. However, the issue at linebacker will be much, MUCH more of a risk. Almost all fans agree that while Stephen Nicholas may not be the absolute “best” overall option at strongside linebacker, he is the best available option for the near future. DOL noted that Stephen Nicholas appears to be headed to New York, which evidently the Falcons like to draft and supply the Giants with OLB’s, considering the did the same thing with Michael Boley a few years ago.

Will Nicholas Walk?

The options are limited and counting on in-house candidates is a much bigger risk than defensive end. Biermann and Sidbury have at least shown flashes, but that can’t be said for outside linebacker. Mike Peterson surely will be coming back, but counting on any 35 year old to play a brutal 16-plus schedule (including pre-season and potential playoffs), is just asking too much for a starter. Unless either Robert James or Spencer Adkins are on the verge of an enormous leap from barely making the roster to full-time starter, the possibilities are grim. Akeem Dent may be an answer for the future, but expecting anything as a rookie is fantasy talk.

Other OLB Options

They may have options at OLB if Nicholas leaves in either James Anderson or Manny Lawson. Like Johnson, though, Anderson likely won’t escape Charlotte and the Falcons seem stubborn on who they bring into their linebacking corps.

In short, if the Falcons BOTH don’t sign a defensive end and let Stephen Nicholas walk without replacing him in free agency, it’s hard to want to panic seeing as though the Falcons defense would seemingly REGRESS after suffering one of the worst and most embarrassing home blowouts in playoff history. The Falcons top brass surely get all the credit and faith in the world due to their track record, but standing pat on all defensive fronts is due for some serious heartburn as the season draws close.

Your Take

  1. What say you: panic mode if no moves in free agency?
  2. Can the Falcons absorb the loss of Nicholas and no new defensive end?
  3. Are you worried if Falcons pass on Edwards and Johnson?
  4. Do Falcons have enough in-house talent for defensive end?
  5. Do Birds have enough in-house talent at OLB to lose Nicholas?
  6. What about cornerback: what should they do there?

519 comments Add your comment

robert

July 26th, 2011
5:04 pm

i think we’ll be alright no need to worry

Falcon Devil

July 26th, 2011
5:09 pm

Nicolas isn’t going to NY

Falcon Devil

July 26th, 2011
5:11 pm

There are other DE’s to be had besides the top two names, both of whom are sure to be over paid. Babin is coming of a career year at from the Titans and Odom from Cinci was hella productive when healthy. He could be a great value gamble.

Falcon Devil

July 26th, 2011
5:14 pm

Either Chauncey or Anderson will be cut by the end of camp. I’d be surprised if JA98 doesn’t restructure his deal otherwise he is sure to get cut IMO. I believe I read they are getting him thin again to see if they can ever get him to be the edge rusher they had hoped for rather than a 3-4 DE.

ryan

July 26th, 2011
5:24 pm

I think TD wanted to bring back the O- line instead of paying for high price DE i think in the end will get a DE it will be a cheap one maybe Babin or Cullen Jenkins how about Osi .

Bethany

July 26th, 2011
5:29 pm

I think we will be okay with Beirmann opposite Abraham. He was decent last year, not great. But I think he could actually play better next year. As for linebackers, I don’t think Nicholas will go anywhere, but if he does, give the rookie Dent a shot in preseason. He might surprise!

Mike

July 26th, 2011
5:42 pm

I read on Rotoworld that the AJC’s football coverage is unreliable at best. DOL was wrong on Devine and he was wrong on Stephen Nicholas. I also read that the Falcons are “very interested” in Charles Johnson.

Everyone clammered all off-season on how we need a DE and now everyone is saying we will be fine with what we have. No we will not. We need a DE.

Us not adding an impact player on defense will be considered a failure in my mind.

welikebaseball2

July 26th, 2011
5:46 pm

I like Kroy, but how long will we hold to the hope that he could maybe/possibly/one-day-soon develop in an 8-plus sack DE? Maybe he’s just what ProFootballFocus said, a solid DE that excels in all areas except pass rush. We could go for that if we had a pass rushing OLB…but we don’t…and we’re going to need that from the DE position. Either get us a 3rd CB not named Chris Owens or a pass-rushing DE. Otherwise, opposing QB’s will continue to have a field day against us.

ryan

July 26th, 2011
5:50 pm

If we are still interested Charles Johnson i am all for it but you don’t want risk loosing your O- line number one priority is protecting Matt Ryan we have to resign Claybo and Dahl and if we have enough to get Johnson do it .

JB FALCON

July 26th, 2011
5:53 pm

Panic won’t help anything. We were 13-3 last year and our D will surely be more experienced. I could see us playing the cards we have but can’t see AB & TD totally ignore the FA market. If Nicolas decides, against his prior comments about staying, to leave, we will have a situation that will definitely have to be dealt with. Filling that spot with what we have to work with would be very risky and another 41-28 shelacking is just not going to be acceptable. As FD said, Babin may be an option but if Nicolas leaves we will probably look at a FA OLB, just about would have to, or not.

Falcon Devil

July 26th, 2011
5:54 pm

Charles Johnson signed w/ Carolina for $72 million. $30 mil signing bonus, 32 million guaranteed.

ryan

July 26th, 2011
5:56 pm

I heard Carolina was making a strong push to keep Johnson looks will have to else were for DE .

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
5:57 pm

Back in the fold…..along with football. Bring on the FFL, D3!! Need to talk to you on a side bar so hit me up with an email.

Quick hit. The Falcons will be busy the next 96 hours or so for sure. I think that they will definately lock down the OL issues and probably Nicholas. I hear a lot about re-signing Pete and while I love the leadership, we should weigh ALL other options first. Defensive end is still an issue but the Kittens seem to be moving RAPIDLY to keep Charles Johnson in the Litter Box.

The cuts will be interesting to see. Stay tuned…

D3

July 26th, 2011
5:57 pm

Well, if this is true, than the possibility of actually getting a DE is starting to look grim. From Rotoworld…………

Profootballtalk.com reports the Panthers have agreed to terms with DE Charles Johnson on a contract that includes $32 million guaranteed.

I think Osi Umenyiora and Antwan Odom might be a good insurance policy. But then there goes the logic, why just get a defensive end to just say you got one.

It would be OK if they didn’t get a DE, but seriously upgraded their OLB corps by signing someone like James Anderson or Manny Lawson (although he may be a strict 3-4 backer).

Have to say that I will be in panic mode if we do nothing AND Stephen Nicholas walk.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
5:59 pm

Falcon Devil just broke the news. The Kittens have done it.

Ron Rivera will be a force to reckon with. That defense is going to be VERY aggressive. I will save my comments on our defense until I see how FA shakes out. There is some talent out there that could help the Falcons. Stay tuned.

oh crap

July 26th, 2011
6:01 pm

CJ just signed a six year deal to stay with the panthers

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:05 pm

Manny Lawson would be okay with the TeePee. And I still stay that we can afford to take a chance on Vernon Gholston. Tons of upside with minimal costs. He simply was in the wrong system in NY. The talent can be coached up if he is allowed to put his hand down and get up the field.

Breaking news: The Falcons have signed a defensive end from Boise State. Ryan Winterswyk.
Details to come.

ryan

July 26th, 2011
6:07 pm

I guess you have ask why wont the Falcons get DE John Abraham is getting old they several chances to get DE in the draft what is it with Falcons and DE’s .

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:08 pm

Ryan Winterswyk? Where did TD find this guy? Here goes that mining in the WAC again.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:10 pm

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1114079

The Winter Storm as I will call him…..he has seen some time at tight end as well. Seems to have been fairly productive at BSU. Could TD have found lightning in a bottle?

Falcon Devil

July 26th, 2011
6:11 pm

Winterswyk is coming in as a TE

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:13 pm

This move could be a serious wake up call to Sidbury to step up or hit the road…..but the Winter Storm has had injury issues with his knees. A partially torn maniscus as well as a sprained MCL

Falcon Devil

July 26th, 2011
6:14 pm

DOL screwed up massively with the Noel Devine report. I think we should grab a solid backup for Turner; McGahee, Brandshaw, Ronnie Brown, Marion Barber would all be good. Should be set on 3rd downs with Quiz. Maybe Snelling will realize he isn’t going to get huge money and returns.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:14 pm

That would odd FD given the roster depth at that position.

John Waynesworld

July 26th, 2011
6:14 pm

Stirg d'Nahsif

July 26th, 2011
6:16 pm

What’s up, people? Long time; long time.
DE: Charles Johnson or nothing. Ray Edwards, now, is where Abraham was two years ago. If we grabbed him, we’ll be looking for another DE in one to two years. Charles Johnson is a must have. Is he restricted or no?

DB: I say that we have enough talent to hold down the defensive backfield, provided we employ an efficient pass rush. Johnson and Abe as bookends would solidify our defensive passing game. Otherwise, seek a starter at corner in free agency and let Grimes play nickel.

…miss You, Shawty B.

Stirg d'Nahsif

July 26th, 2011
6:17 pm

Damn. Just reading about Johnson…

chickenman

July 26th, 2011
6:22 pm

well if we are not targeting d/e’s… (which is ridiclious) then go get nnamdi and buy our dline more time to develop..grimes is NOT a shutdown corner he is a great player but nnamdi or grimes… DUH Nnamdi

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:25 pm

The door is closed on defensive ends and FA. Johnson is gone, Edwards is not on the radar, and there is no one else that gives any more value than what we have. Kiwanuka (neck) is the best veteran left on the board but do we want to chance a possible second neck injury at a position of such key need for the Birds.

Call up Gholston’s people….put him in there with the Sugar Bear. It’s a steal I tell ya!!

Falcon Devil

July 26th, 2011
6:26 pm

How are some people still claiming Grimes isn’t a starting CB? Probowl means nothing? Leading the team in picks for two years means nothing? Having an NFL high in passes defended means nothing? Spectacle picks of Drew Brees and Peyton Manning (@ the probowl) means nothing? Grimes is going to get paid big starter money because that’s he has proved to be. Some people are never going to get over the fact he isn’t 6′1 210. I’m just glad we have people who can evaluate talent making personnel decisions.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:27 pm

Nnamdi will not be a Falcon. I am sure that the Texans or Eagles are working his agents’ phone hard RIGHT now.

Our starting CBs this season will be Grimes and Robinson with Franks/Owens at the nickel.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:28 pm

Great point, FD. Grimes is the man! Little man just keeps getting better and better. The Falcons know what they have in him. The second coming of Ronde Barber or Antoine Winfield. Bank it!!

chickenman

July 26th, 2011
6:30 pm

grimes is a starter.. but thee are only 4-5 SHUTDOWN corners in the nfl if that… nnmadi is #1 or #2 on that list .. no one throws at him period.. in a division where your db grimes is targeted over 120x i think its time to get some help… i like grimes at nickel

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:31 pm

Ravens are going to cut NT Kelly Gregg. Can you say the second coming of Grady Jackson. A big man to plug the hole on the first two downs and let Babs, Peters, or the occasion Jerry sighting to be more effective in pass rush. This is a no brainer…….get the big fellow now. 6′ 320…that will plug a hole.

ryan

July 26th, 2011
6:31 pm

How about Osi , Babin , Jenkins and Gholston i think RB Rodgers will be fine sound like everyone is jumping ship .

John Waynesworld

July 26th, 2011
6:32 pm

Woops you got me on the scoop, D3.

What say you: panic mode if no moves in free agency? – Just a bit. Our young guys are a year older and we have some healthier players back, but it may not be enough against a much improving NFC South.

Can the Falcons absorb the loss of Nicholas and no new defensive end? – We could always grab another solid FA linebacker, like Manny Lawson.

Are you worried if Falcons pass on Edwards and Johnson? – It may be moot if the news is correct.

Do Falcons have enough in-house talent for defensive end? – With the guy from Boise State and the SC guy, along with LSid, I think we have enough for a good tryout.

Do Birds have enough in-house talent at OLB to lose Nicholas? – I believe Bear Woods has enough talent to move to Nicholas’ old position, but I don’t know anything about LBs Adkins and old Area 51.

What about cornerback: what should they do there? – Sign a big time UFA.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:34 pm

Ryan, I think Babin is a one hit wonder. Osi seems to be a disgruntled player and we do not need that in the ATL. I am strongly advocating for given Gholston a chance.

Rodgers will be terrific in open space…..oh yes.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:41 pm

JWW, lots of things to ponder. But great points.

ryan

July 26th, 2011
6:50 pm

I might like idea of Gholston little younger than Edwards and Johnson and cheap put him in the right situation he has a chance to be a good DE .

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
6:53 pm

Ryan, I think that with the Sugar Bear, Gholston could be something. We have nothing to loose. TD, take the chance!! He can be no worse than the three plus years that we have gotten from JA98!!

Fan

July 26th, 2011
6:54 pm

It is like this/… If the Falcons do nothing in the free agent market then aspect a 8-8 season. If they go out and get a DE, LB & CB that can cover the middle of the field than they will be 14-2. Now, the Eagles have showed other teams how too beat us.. This past season the Eagles whip our ass by spreading the Falcons defense out… this would mean a NICKEL BACK is needed some how.. Atlanta has been having problems over the years covering the middle of the field and Quarterbacks and Offense Coodinators knew this fact.. from the Eagles game two years in a row..and than GB took that tape and did the same thing in the playoff in Atlanta.. Now I have been a Falcon fan for 30 years and I am tried of people saying “”" The falcons need a DE”" the problem is the falcons need LBs & a Nickel Back that can cover and it is just that simply guys.. Also, if they let the OL go else where Matt Ryan want make the whole season and we done anywhere… We will have speed and score but if Matt is on his ass how can we score?? Finally, we need players with speed that can cover the middle of the field.. We can cover the edge but not the middle. I will use the Eagle game again too tell me about us and if we lose the way we have in the past, we will be 0-3 in the playoff again guys..Find players that can cover and our defense will be great this year.. I do not care if I sound like a breaking record.. IT IS REAL PEOPLE

John Waynesworld

July 26th, 2011
6:55 pm

SW, Osi has 2 years left on his present contract. He’s just disgruntled.

http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/975/player?r=1&rw=1

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
7:06 pm

JWW, I agree. We can let him stay put in NY. Excellent point made as well by Fan.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
7:12 pm

Fan, I will take your point and raise you one. The heat is on Smitty and BVG this season. The first five games of the season are critical. On the road with the Bears, Bucs, and Seahawks; three teams with strong armed, mobile quarterbacks. Home against the Eagles and Packers; again, strong armed, mobile quarterbacks. Very critical stretch. A losing record after five games should spell the end of the BVG era. Point made.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
7:13 pm

Falcons just signed RB Noel Devine….

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
7:18 pm

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
7:18 pm

Very interesting read…..let’s see how it plays out.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2011
7:19 pm

Break right for a few…back later.

JB FALCON

July 26th, 2011
7:23 pm

So, “if” we don’t get any FA’s, we have the guys we drafted plus these UDFA’s;
Kirk Belgrave, CB, Kent State
Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
Adam Froman, QB, Louisville
Matt Hansen, LB, URI
Tom McCarthy, LS, Yale
Rob McGill, OT, Louisiana Tech
Matt Murphy, OT, UNLV
Philip Sylvester, RB, Florida A&M
LaMarcus Thompson, LB, Tennessee
Darrin Walls, CB, Notre Dame
Ryan Winterswyk, DE, Boise State

Somehow, I don’t see much “explosion” in there except JJ and Quizz. Everyone else is unproven. I do hope a lot of guys we drafted last year really step up.

ryan

July 26th, 2011
7:24 pm

Can imagine Devine and Rodgers if Devine stays talk about 1 to 2 punch fact you have burner Turner also .