10 Falcons Free Agent Questions

Defensive end John Abraham

How Much for Re-Sign? (AJC)

Sickness has made its way through the family and has even batted around the order. Working on new “Risk or Play it Safe” post currently, but wanted to get a new thread up to let the Bird Cage Faithful talk Falcons and Football. Until new post gets up, here’s 10 questions to get the conversations going……..

1) Is Brent Grimes the 2nd Best Overall Free Agent on the Market?

Yesterday, AJC’s Jeff Schultz came out with an article reporting that ProFootballFocus.com (known for their intensive use of stats), rated Brent Grimes as the 2nd best overall free agent on the market. Do you agree with this assessment? If so, should the Falcons consider using the franchise tag on him, thus awarding him an almost $11 million dollar contract?

2) Can Lawrence Sidbury and or Cliff Matthews Take Over if Abraham Leaves?

The same website ranked John Abraham as the #3 overall free agent on the market. Turning 34 in May, Abraham seems ready to cash in on one last contract and it appears the Falcons won’t get into a bidding war over a player hitting 34 and mostly relegated to being a pass-rushing specialist. Can Sidbury and/or Matthews be ready to take over if Abraham leaves?

3) Is Curtis Lofton an Every Down Linebacker?

Can Franks Step Up? (AJC)

This one’s simple: is soon-to-be-free-agent middle linebacker Curtis Lofton an every down linebacker or is he destined to be solely a run-stuffing two down MLB? If you believe he is only scratching the surface of becoming a play-making LB, than you have your answer on whether the Birds should pay the man. If you believe the latter, than you also have your conclusion on whether the Falcons should get into a bidding war over him.

4) Can Falcons Afford to Lose Grimes, Abraham, and Lofton?

The three biggest free agents to be are Brent Grimes, John Abraham, and Curtis Lofton. Is there anyway the Falcons can afford to lose all three, all on the defensive side of the ball? Unfortunately, even if they happen to lose all three, they won’t be saving very much money against the cap, except for Abraham’s salary ($8 million). Would it set back the Falcons defense years if all three get away?

5) How Much Would You Pay to Keep Harry Douglas?

Surely, the Falcons want to keep Harry Douglas and certainly there’s probably a part of him that wants to stay with his hometown Falcons. Like all other free agent signings, this one will come down to how much Douglas thinks he deserves and how much the Falcons value him. By way of comparison, James Jones was in a similar position last year as Green Bay’s 4th WR option and many thought he could go be a #2 WR in another offense. He stayed with the Packers to the tune of a $3.3 million dollar a year deal. Is Douglas worth that? More or less?

6) Is Eric Weems Worth $1.2 Million?

Eric Weems made $1.2 million dollars last year, essentially to be the Falcons kickoff and punt returner. Perhaps it wasn’t his fault that former offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey couldn’t integrate more than 2 receivers at a time, but in a cost cutting year, is Eric Weems worth the same amount as last year? If so, should he be under some mandate to be integrated into the offense?

7) Are Turner and Snelling Mutually Exclusive?

Falcons running back Michael Turner breaks away from Buccaneers defenders for a 81-yard touchdown run and a 42-0 lead during first-half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012.

#33 & #44 Mutually Exclusive? (AJC)

As much as fans talk about the Falcons parting ways with Michael Turner, it has not really been the case with Thomas Dimitroff’s track record. Last year, the Falcons let Jason Snelling test the market before re-signing him. If Turner definitely comes back, does that mean that Snelling will finally be gone elsewhere? Should he?

8.) Who’s Your Biggest Head-Scratcher?

Of the 17 Falcons free agents, which player is the hardest to gauge whether they will or should come back and at what price?

9) How Radical Should This Off-Season Be?

Should the Falcons go piecemeal and only slightly adjust the roster or should they throw caution to the wind, make deep cuts, and dramatically remake this roster for the long haul? What big name free agents should the Falcons part ways with in order to remake a roster that clearly can’t win in the postseason? Or should they re-sign most of their own free agents and only try to tweak a roster that has made the playoffs 3 out of the last 4 years?

10) How Active Should the Birds Be in Free Agency?

Not including their own free agents, how active in free agency must the Falcons be? The offensive line has been the main talking point thus far. Should the Falcons go out and sign not only one offensive lineman, but two? Do the Birds need to actively search for replacements for the expected potential losses of Grimes, Abraham, Lofton, and Douglas? What free agents do you have your eye on?

Bird Cage Faithful’s Turn

Have your go at the 10 questions

454 comments Add your comment

JB FALCON

February 14th, 2012
1:47 pm

BR, (I’ll try again) you brought up something about B Grimes that’s been on my mind also. When Grimes did come back and try to play he did not look at all like himself. What if he’s lost that jumping ability that made him so good? What if the the leg doesn’t hold up? That worry and his size, plus the $$ he (his wife) is going to want, adds up to a big ole bye-bye!

darrell starks

February 14th, 2012
2:05 pm

9. TOP 2 FREE AGENTS NEED TO BE SIGN OT JARED GAITHER AND CALAIS CAMPELL

OFFENSE JARED, BLALOCK, HAWLEY, CLABO, SVITEK

DEFENSE RAY, BABINEAUX, CAMPELL, ABRAHAM

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joshua Malavenda

February 14th, 2012
2:10 pm

here is a intresting artcile about the performances of the senior bowl: http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/day-3-at-senior-bowl-risers-and-fallers/

this is what I got out of the article.

I wasnt really sold on ledarius green untill this article but his durablity still is question for me

I didnt really now what to expect from chris polk but now I am convinced that I would pick doug martin over polk any day of the week

I thought I liked mike martin but now I am really buying him

I think if we let bierman go shea mccllellin would be a perfect replacement because he reminds me of him alot and has the same versatility to play in our hybrid defense

I was somewhat sold on alabamas brad smelly but now I am sold on him and his versatility could used very well in atlantas offense plus you can get in him in the seventh or even undrafted fa and he would be a steal

I was sold on nigel Bradham but he had a horrible performance in the senior bowl so I am not so sure now

we could draft demario Davis for his coverage skills and his versatility it would be used well in mike nolans hybrid defense

Another player that showed well in the senior bowl was billy winn who is also a verstile player who would do well in nolans offense and he embaressed cordy G when they played each other in the dome the first game of the year

Joshua Malavenda

February 14th, 2012
2:11 pm

Darrell- I wish we could Calis Campbell but he will be franchised by AZ is what I heard

darrell starks

February 14th, 2012
2:12 pm

10. IS THE SAME ANSWER AS 9.

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

February 14th, 2012
2:25 pm

Trade Turner ASAP for second rounder if so possible.

HAVE TWO NUMBER 2 PICK.

CHRIS POLK RB AND BILLY WINN

BILLY WINN IS A BEAST, DT OR DE WOULD BE A STILL IN THE 2ND ROUND FOR THE FALCONS.

http://youtu.be/wK35SHUBbNY

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

stizz

February 14th, 2012
2:48 pm

If there’s an ounce of truth to why Grimes didn’t play in the postseason, do not resign him. Dude has two mediocre seasons,one above average season, and one where he was banged up. There are times when Grimes just does not focus. I can recall about 4 games where he dropped easy interceptions. No telling where he would be if our scouting hadn’t done diligence finding him in Europe, and all of a sudden he and his wife scream for money?! Couple that with the fact that he might get killed on the line trying to jam in Nolan’s system makes me think we’ve already got the pieces to replace him. Let’s spend our money elsewhere.

ddawgdavis

February 14th, 2012
2:54 pm

Love the misinformed fools. So, I should re-evaluate my statement as stating one of the best combos in the NFL. We ranked sixth, overall, the whole NFL. Running to the left with our horrid LT and Blalock we ranked ahead of Nicks and the Saints. So, before you start hammering someone check the stats there ESPN watchers. The reason why we didn’t get a push is because when you run it up the middle like the previous plays you will not get any sympathy.

Nicks would be great, but I would rather see the money to retain Grimes and Lofton and go after depth. Jarret Johnson, match him with Lofton and Spoon. Get Puoha from the Bengals, pair him up with Babs, Peters. If we want a DE go after Mincey. Go after the depth instead of the big money.

honest_abe

February 14th, 2012
3:08 pm

guard tandem is what you specifically said. not LT (fill in the blank) + blalock. we had a revolving door at RG. maybe you need to reexamine what you write. just a suggestion.

“The reason why we didn’t get a push is because when you run it up the middle like the previous plays you will not get any sympathy.”

what the hell does that even mean?

waynester

February 14th, 2012
3:32 pm

Joshua M
Gotta agree with you on Martin vs Polk and I REALLY like Mike Martin who just dominated in the Senior game. Shea McClellin will probably be the best of the remaining DEs– if he makes it to the 5th –I’d certainly consider it….

Joshua Malavenda

February 14th, 2012
4:32 pm

HOnest Abe- Lmao@ The reason why we didn’t get a push is because when you run it up the middle like the previous plays you will not get any sympathy.”

what the hell does that even mean?

Waynester- all the mock I have read said have him drafted in the 5 round so I think he would be a steal because plus evan if we keep bierman his versitlity would be needed if we are going to run a hybrid defense. we need as many versatile palyers as possible for our defense. Doug Martin is very similar to turner but takes better care of his health which will lead to long durablity in the future which is vital with that postion.

Jeff B

February 14th, 2012
4:34 pm

1. I’m not sure, but he’s good enough that the franchise tag shouldn’t be taken off the table. A mutli-year deal would be preferable hower.
2. No. We need Abe back, or our pass rush will suffer.
3. Yes. He and Spoon each played more snaps than any other NFC south linebacker. That alone should tell you all you need to know. If he wasn’t cutting it, Nicholas would have been in there more.
4. No. Fortunately, we have enough cap room that would won’t have to. At most, I think we can afford to lose one of the three… of course, I said that last year about our O-line and losing one player turned out to be disasterous!
5. $3M per year, or therabouts, as part of a multi-year deal.
6. Yep, though I’d like to see him contribute as a rotational receiver.
7. Nope, I like both those guys. I just think we’ve been overusing Turner. We need to embrace the committee approach!
8. Biggest head scractcher is Thomas DeCoud. Guys seemed like a future star in the making, but now we’re collectively not so sure. Very curious to see what the Falcons end up doing with him.
9-10. Please no deep cuts. A wholesale remake of the roster would be abandonment of the “build through the draft” philosophy. Instead, I think we should continue to build through the draft, but use free agency to enhance our roster and fill in some holes. Hopefully we’ll sign multiple free agents this year.

Ken Strickland

February 14th, 2012
5:04 pm

DDAWGDAVIS-The Saints finished 6th in the entire NFL in rushing, not the Falcons, who finished 17th.

SAINTS(FALCONS)

TOTAL YDS-2127(1834), AV PER CARRY-4.9(4.0), TDs-16(14), ATTs-431(453), GM AV-132.9(114.6).
Talk about being an UNFORMED FOOL. Now back to intelligenty football.

It doesn’t make sense to franchise Grimes and pay him in the $10M range, which would be the 2 consecutive yr that we’ve signed him to a 1yr contract. We knew this situation would come up again as soon as we decided to sign him to a 1yr contract last yr. If we feel we need his services, then just sign him to a long term contract, rather than franchising him, and be done with it?

The fact that he wasn’t offered a long term deal last yr, after coming off a Probowl season, as well as not offering him an extension during the season, tells me he’s gone, particular if he’s looking for a big payday after coming off an injury plagued down season.

ohhhhYEAH

February 14th, 2012
5:55 pm

Only thing is Pete Tong……while it may be true that there is only a 3% difference either way in terms of productivity from a first to second-rounder, we currently, as you know, have no first round pick. So its not simply that we are only gettign a 3% drop, but rather a 103% drop, being as how there is no first rounder for us to drop from. Moving up adds that 3% back, depending on who/what we trade to do so. If, for instance, we have to part ways with Roddy or Turner to do so then its not worth it unless we draft another receiver or running back, which arent the areas we need help in. But if, however, we trade say Blalock or Clabo to someone in need, fill those holes left by them in free agency, and then get a big time defensive player in the first round, then the move is certainly worth it.

DePlane

February 14th, 2012
6:01 pm

1) Is Brent Grimes the 2nd Best Overall Free Agent on the Market?

Yep, probably…after Carlos Rodgers. Finnegan is close.

2) Can Lawrence Sidbury and or Cliff Matthews Take Over if Abraham Leaves?

Hmmm….who knows? Limited snaps LSid has been a productive player. Matthews is a ?? since he rarely played.

3) Is Curtis Lofton an Every Down Linebacker?

I hate to knock on the man for his coverage skills since I don’t truly know if the scheme inhibited him or not.
But that seems to be the prevailing thought and if so than he is a two down LB. Ouch…that hurt…since I love the quality of his play otherwise.

Can Franks Step Up? (AJC)

I think Franks can step up. Dude has speed, athleticism and loves to make plays. He’s still green and with some coaching could be a baller.

4) Can Falcons Afford to Lose Grimes, Abraham, and Lofton?

I don’t see how we could let all three go, but I don’t think the numbers support signing Grimes to a huge deal, we let Abe test the market and if no takers then offer him a one year deal. Offer Lofton a fair deal to stay and coach him up on the coverage skills…hate to see a rotation every third down, harder to disguise coverages, but neither do I think Lofton is a total bust in pass coverage.

5) How Much Would You Pay to Keep Harry Douglas?

I would pay him enough…between a 2 and 3 WR pay.

6) Is Eric Weems Worth $1.2 Million?

Is he as bad as we saw last year? Or is it purely the change in the KO? Can he be a #3 WR? He has excellent coverage skills on ST.

7) Are Turner and Snelling Mutually Exclusive?

Snelling was expendable last year…or so it seemed, so I don’t see them pony’ing up big $, but what do I know. I love Snelling, he’s a true grit player.
The question of Turner depends on how you look at it…I won’t regurgitate here…but I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive.

#
8.) Who’s Your Biggest Head-Scratcher?

I guess its Todd McClure…heart of a lion…but do they try to keep him as insurance?

9) How Radical Should This Off-Season Be?

10) How Active Should the Birds Be in Free Agency?
Not including their own free agents, how active in free agency must the Falcons be? The offensive line has been the main talking point thus far. Should the Falcons go out and sign not only one offensive lineman, but two? Do the Birds need to actively search for replacements for the expected potential losses of Grimes, Abraham, Lofton, and Douglas? What free agents do you have your eye on?

Loaded question. I still think they should go o-line in FA…but one might be enough…and another in the draft. As for all the FA’s, really I’m just taking a wait and see attitude…hard to guess what they’ve got up their sleeve at the Branch.

Big Ray

February 14th, 2012
6:49 pm

Peter E. Tong ,

Thanks for correcting me on the listing. Strange, everytime I saw Brent stand next to Dunta, Dunta looked taller….must be my eyes. :roll:

My point still stands. Now if you want to take on the actual argument instead of trying to win an internet ninja stat geek war (which just doesn’t do it for me, sorry to disappoint you), get back to me.

Otherwise keep your juvenile arrogance to yourself.

Big Ray

February 14th, 2012
6:58 pm

JB Falcon ,

That’s exactly my point. Grimes has made many plays on the ball for us. Most of it has had to do with his athleticism (vertical). I can’t say he doesn’t have good instincts and recovery speed, because he does.

But the fact remains – he’s not a very physical CB, and that is what Mike Nolan seems to be looking for. In the zone, Grimes thrived. Strange that so many other guys did not. Are we to assume that Grimes was the only credible CB on the roster? Even our safeties struggled in the zone. We got beat on 3rd down through the air so many times, it became a foregone conclusion.

Grimes wasn’t half the CB he was post-injury, and I maintain that if he loses that athletic edge, he’s toast against these bigger receivers that everybody seems to keep coming up with (hey, we got one too).

I just don’t see him as being so dang vital to our defense under Nolan. Not for that kind of money.

Franchise him? I think not. Now I’m willing to listen to credible arguments to the contrary. Not some damn website listing of height and weight.

Big Ray

February 14th, 2012
7:12 pm

Joshua Malavenda ,

Great article link. I think Grimes is a good CB. I just don’t believe that A) he should get a franchise tag, and B) we can’t survive without him.

Can the guy play? Absolutely. But we’re talking about the big picture here. Should we be committing that much money to two CBs (DRob’s already got a monster contract)? I don’t think so. I think guys like Franks are ready to take over. Put him and Owens in Nolans more physical, press scheme and see how they do. They’re more physical.

Another note on that article : If you read past the point about Grimes and others, it tells you that the stats can skew the view, so to speak:

Unfortunately, you’ve got to have some people who don’t do quite as well in this stat and it needs to come with a heavy disclaimer. Some play the slot alone, and some play it in nickel situations and, as a result, they’re likely to be targeted a little bit more than your average CB. It will inspire some slot cornerback rankings from us in our Signature Stat section, but for now, just know that this is part of the reason why you see corners like Captain Munnerlyn, Tracy Porter and Orlando Scandrick near the bottom. So, with that statement in mind, here’s the Bottom 10 :

This is just ONE example of how situational stats can be used (or misused) to “prove” one idea or another.

In the end, I think Mike Nolan will be helping to determine whether or not Grimes gets franchised or re-signed for big money. I say it won’t go down like that, but what do I know? If he stays, I won’t cry. If he goes, I won’t cry. But what I don’t want to see is major money thrown at a CB who may or may not be as good as the money.

I’d rather we concentrated more on winning the war in the trenches. We haven’t won the war through the air in a looooong time.

RyeSouvie

February 14th, 2012
7:12 pm

The Falcons should sign Abraham to a reasonable contract. Signing Lofton is a no brainer. He is the best middle linebacker we have had since Tuggle. We should slap the franchise tag on Grimes…. He is the best cb we have.

waynester

February 14th, 2012
7:36 pm

According to Pat Y the Falcons are right at 20 million bucks UNDER the salary cap currently. If, as anticipated, we cut some well-salaried guys, we should have plenty of room to make a BIG FA signing on one of our lines or maybe both. Also they had a rumor that Hines Ward,who may be cut, would be a nice addition to the lineup, especially with Douglas possibly leaving. He would definitely bring a lot to the table on the field and in the locker room–with the media, too. He must have some business or other connections to ATL already….

Ken Strickland

February 14th, 2012
7:55 pm

Most of us cagers blamed the Falcons inconsistency on our previous coaching staff, except for a few who blame certain players, or a lack of talent. Now that they’ve been sent packing, we’ll now get to see if we were right about our previous coaching staff.

JB FALCON

February 14th, 2012
8:12 pm

waynester, Hines caught 46 passes for 381 yards last year. He will be 36 years old in March. I would rather keep HD unless another team wants to pay his #1 or 2 salary. Hines played in Forest Park and he has roots here but Harry played for Jonesboro and would probably rather stay here. On an even scale I would lean towards keeping Harry who is much younger and has a bright future.

waynester

February 14th, 2012
8:58 pm

JB
There’s no question the arrow is still up on Douglas. Even if HD gets the $$$ somewhere else, I wouldn’t go the FA route for a slot man, but nab one in the draft. The reason to bring in Ward would be more intangible stuff–like having a guy who knows how to prepare and how to WIN and who’d be a marketable draw here in the ATL market….

tfalcon

February 14th, 2012
9:02 pm

I hate to bring u guys the bad news but the 2012 draft class is not all that good,their are about 20 players that are rated at 5 star players at scouts.com makes me feel ALOT better about the JJ trade I think TD
New that this years class was weak,so teams picking afer 20 will really be picking a 2nd round talent,good for the player he gets more money our best players we sign this yr will come in FA

steven a smith

February 14th, 2012
9:09 pm

still One draft away from going deeper. Too many holes. Shutdown corner. Massive run stuffer. Free Safety, Tight End, Left Tackle, and right guard. Also, new center and no. 1 Tailback.

Pete E. Tong

February 14th, 2012
9:20 pm

@Big Ray

Take on your argument? Do you mean point? What is your point exactly? We shouldn’t franchise Grimes solely becuase of his height?

Why not? We get a new franchise tag each year. Are you suggesting there is a better candidate?

Im left with more questions than answers everytime you chime in.

@OhYeah

You should read the Massey Thaler study. Thats not how it works.

JB FALCON

February 14th, 2012
9:25 pm

waynester, Hines would be an intangible asset but how much is that worth? I think the new CS will bring a new attitude, or at least I hope they will. The NFL is a $9 billion per year industry and Roddy is complaining about the commissioners salary, $20 mil per year, but the teams are limited to $120 mil for the entire team. Fact is, we can’t afford HInes, imo. Plus, he wants to stay in Pitt dearly and has offered to take a pay cut to do so. That’s still in negotiations. Never know what the new CS will do!

ryan

February 14th, 2012
9:43 pm

I would rather spend our cap space on O- line maybe a DB that out there i also heard Randy Moss name come up he might be a little cheaper because of his past sign him to one year deal if we were to go that rout .

Big Ray

February 14th, 2012
9:52 pm

Peter E. Tong ,

Take on your argument? Do you mean point? What is your point exactly? We shouldn’t franchise Grimes solely becuase of his height?

Nope, that is not what I said. I mentioned his height, but I also mentioned his physicality, his fit in Nolan’s scheme (which we really aren’t 100% sure of just yet, but we can speculate) and his physical ability post-injury. All of these factors come into play. All of these factors are something I mentioned, and if you refuse to see that, then there’s no point in discussing this further.

Why not? We get a new franchise tag each year. Are you suggesting there is a better candidate?

Yeah. Curtis Lofton, who happens to be healthy and the team’s top tackler. Unlike Grimes, we don’t have many guys behind Lofton that are already on the roster and already have some NFL experience, who can take over. We have Akeem Dent behind him, that’s it. We’ve got Franks, Owens, and potentially Walls behind Grimes. Not only that, but Lofton is one of the team leaders.

Simply put, I think we survive the departure of Grimes better than we do the departure of Lofton. Again, willing to listen to a well made argument that goes in the opposite or another direction. If you have one…

Im left with more questions than answers everytime you chime in.

Well, questions are the easy way out. Answers aren’t so easy. So is shooting somebody’s ideas/opinions down….versus coming up with credible arguments of your own in the process.

But hey, without stuff like that, we’d never be able to appreciate the predominately intelligent discussion and dialogue that happens in the Cage. So thanks for your contribution.

;)

JB FALCON

February 14th, 2012
9:53 pm

Band aides stop the bleeding, they do not heal the wound.

SeminoleWarrior

February 14th, 2012
9:54 pm

What’s up Cage Family…..a very solid topic for discussion so I will waste not time.

1) Is Grimes the second best overall free agent on the Market? HECK NO. I will just give you a few names and leave it at that. Let us assume for a moment that the Falcons were operating in a more friendly cap environment.

RB Ray Rice or Matt Forte; TE Jeremichael Finley; G Carl Nicks; C Scott Wells or Chris Myers; DT Paul Soliati or Red Bryant; ILB Stephen Tulloch; CB Brandon Carr or Tracy Porter.

2) Can Sidbury or Matthews take over for the possible departing John Abraham. I for one want to see Sidbury on the field and given a fair chance. It is high time we see what he can do. The flash is there. Personally, when I think of Sidbury, I am reminded of Philadelphia’s Trent Cole with Sidbury being bigger, stronger, and faster at this stage in his career. A coordinator like Nolan will know what to do with him. The time is now for El Sid. Biermann and Matthews continue to provide depth.

JB FALCON

February 14th, 2012
9:57 pm

Big Ray, re: P.E.T., you know better but good luck anyway!

Big Ray

February 14th, 2012
9:58 pm

JB ,

I get your argument about Hines Ward. Great guy to have on the field and in the locker room when it comes to toughness and leadership. The Steelers letting him go is not a good sign for productivity, however. I kind of am more concerned with what we do with this loud mouthed, pass-dropping #1 WR we have than I am about filling out the roster with guys who play in the slot.

If HD goes, we’ll probably address that through other means. Have to admit, waynester has a point about going with youth, and possibly going through the draft to do it.

Not to stomp on your idea at all. I just don’t know if that is the right route to go. You have to consider the fact that we already re-signed Tony Gonzalez for a nice contract, and he provides the toughness and leadership, though not the exact same brand/flavor as Ward does.

SeminoleWarrior

February 14th, 2012
9:59 pm

3) Is Lofton an every down linebacker. You damned right he is. Lofton reminds me so much of the Hammer, Jessie Tuggle. Tuggle was not much in pass coverage but he made impact plays in the running game and contained the inside of the defense. He lead by example and epitomized tough on the field. Lofton brings a lot of the same. Simply put, dude is a football player that keeps on hitting. And he is as solid as gold in that interior for me.

Personally, I would love to shift to a 3-4 scheme, draft my man Nigel Bradham and put the pair in the middle with Nicholas and Spoon on the outsides. This would be the most dymanic LB corps in ATL history – bar none!! I am confident of that prediction should it happen. And Bradham would offset Lofton’s pass coverage weaknesses, keeping him close to the line while Bradham assumed the MLB/ILB coverage roles via a switch of sides once the play is read defensively.

Big Ray

February 14th, 2012
10:01 pm

JB Falcon ,

You would think that I know better by now, it must be my youthful exuberance again. LOL…but thanks for reminding me.

Who knows, maybe after Petey boy and I get done exchanging whiffs with fake leather gauntlets, he might find a Falcons blogging home.

Or maybe not.

Cheers!

SeminoleWarrior

February 14th, 2012
10:03 pm

4) Can the Falcons afford to lose Grimes, Abraham, and Lofton?

The Falcons can move on without Grimes and Abraham. There is no question about that in my mind.
And the time has come to do so. Franks/Owens are ready to step up and El Sid is primed to break out. Trust me.

Lofton is another story. His loss would be a MAJOR hole in the defensive unit. His playmaking skills against the rush, his sideline to sideline range, and his role as a leader is VERY significant. And the Falcons do not have a MLB that can step in RIGHT NOW and assume that role unless they get someone like Tulloch in FA. If Lofton leaves, MLB becomes a high draft priority. Adkins and Dent can not replace Lofton….no way!!

Big Ray

February 14th, 2012
10:03 pm

ryan ,

Don’t let D. Ledbetter give you that funky smellin’ tobacco plant. We need Randy Moss like we need a hole in the head. There’s a reason teams aren’t knocking down his or Terrell Owens doors. The talent no longer justifies the headaches that come with it. Not by far.

It probably works on Madden, though! :)

Seminole Warrior ,

I was wondering when you’d say your piece. Now I get to sit back and read….

Big Ray

February 14th, 2012
10:06 pm

See…. SW already hits the nail on the head on Brent Grimes. NOT the 2nd highest rated FA out there. Maybe the 2nd highest FA that is likely to become available….there is a fundamental difference, no?

Ah, the nuances of this game…

SeminoleWarrior

February 14th, 2012
10:07 pm

How much would you pay to keep HD83? HD83 is the key to the opening up of the Falcons offense. His abilities as a slot receiver will provide a nice target in the intermediate game. We have seen the potential on several occasions. The previous regime simply did not use it effectively and often. I certain hope that DK recognizes this.

A four year, 8 million dollar deal is not a bad place to start for HD83 and the upside he brings in the slot. And remember, he could also provide an invaluable weapon in kickoff/punt returns as well. Great speed and field awareness……use and keep it!!

SeminoleWarrior

February 14th, 2012
10:14 pm

Is Eric Weems worth $1.2 million? Eric, see ya!! Enuf said. Franks and/or Douglas can handle Weems’ duties. Let him (Weems) go return kicks for Mad Mike in JAX.

Are Turner and Snelling mutually exclusive? No. While I love Snelling, if he is not going to have a greater role, then we should let him go. He is a solid runner and has great hands. But his role is not extensive enough to justify a moderate payday.

MT33 is also a solid back. But this is his transitional year. The Falcons have to start looking for the eventual heir at RB. Rodgers is the optional back; quick, great hands, speedy. But can he be an eery down NFL back? I honestly do not now. Turner will be in the mix for one more year certainly. Will we have a thunder and lightning combo with Turner/Rodgers?

Sleeper point: Snelling, while smaller than most fullbacks, did play the position at UVA. If his blocking is solid, which I have no reason to doubt, perhaps he could replace Ovie at FB, thus giving us a solid blocker and extra receiver in the game at critical times; would give DK a nice feather in the hat.

SeminoleWarrior

February 14th, 2012
10:18 pm

Head scratcher? There are several.

First, what do we REALLY want to do with Jason Snellling? He is versatile yet we seem incapable of finding a role for him.

Second, Dunta Robinson – Was it the scheme really or is he as horrid as I think?

Third, Thomas DeCoud and William Moore. Can Nolan turn these guys into a formidable duo? Can Moore stay healthy?

Fourth, Ray Edwards. If healthy, can I get 6 to 8 sacks out of him this season and can he mentor El Sid to an equivalent production?

Fifth: Joe Hawley, Mike Johnson, Garrett Reynolds, and Andrew Jackson. Does new OL coach Pat Hill find gold in these stream beds?

SeminoleWarrior

February 14th, 2012
10:22 pm

How radical should this offseason be?

It really should not be that radical. This team is closer than most think. An adherence to a philosophy and the ability to be flexible in that philosophy is KEY. Leadership, not stubborn nature, is a must – on the sideline and on the field. Simply put, one must expect the best at all times and maximum effort has to be given. Championships are won most often with sincere effort rather than good luck.

Ken Strickland

February 14th, 2012
10:23 pm

There are a number of examples why we don’t have to go outside to get a lot on what we need. All we have to do is take the mothballs off some of the younger players that were all but ignored by Mularkey and VanGorder, like DEs Sidbury & Mathews, LBs Dent & Adkins, WR Meier, TE Palmer, and RB Smith. I’d take Meier and his potential over Hines Ward and his intangilbes any day of the week.

One very good thing that will come out of having a new coaching staff is they will be looking to evaluate everyone on the roster, rather than slotting them like before. As a result, there will be some serious competition among our younger players, which wouldn’t have happened before.For the 1st time, OT Svitek, DEs Biermann and Mathews, and CBs COwens, Wall and Franks, will be competing for starting positions.

SeminoleWarrior

February 14th, 2012
10:27 pm

Finally, how active in FA should the Falcons be? Unfortunately, this question is already answered. They can not be very aggressive in free agency. If they go with Carl Nicks, then they may be able to go after a corner like Richard Marshall. If they went cheaper with Ben Grubbs, they may be able to get a DT like Red Bryant.

If Hill convinces them that he has what he needs on the OL, then a big DT like Red Bryant or Paul Soliai could be in the mix. Or if we can not afford to keep Lofton, perhaps Stephen Tulloch gets the nod.

So many options…so many tough angles. Stay tuned. The Process, Part Two is just getting started.

waynester

February 14th, 2012
10:30 pm

Big Ray
I was thinking more along the lines of benefiting the”franchise” as opposed to the “team” if you see what I’m saying. Ward could represent a future investor like Warrick Dunn with all the dough he’s made over the years. He’s like Tony G in that regard, as well–unusual longevity in a brutal sport….

SeminoleWarrior

February 14th, 2012
10:32 pm

A nugget to ponder. I would like to see what Biermann honestly could do if he competed for a linebacker position. He has a strong background as a linebacker dating back to high school and college. I think he could be a legit SLB or an ILB in a 3-4 scheme.

Been so long since I seen Meier that I can’t remember what he brings to the table.

SeminoleWarrior

February 14th, 2012
10:33 pm

Not feeling the HInes thing in ATL. Let the relics, no matter how good or how strong the home ties are, move on. We need to focus on the present and the future. If we want to acknowledge the fading sun, look to the west as it sets.

falcon21

February 14th, 2012
10:53 pm

As a true Dawgs fan, I do like Ward but bringing him here now would be a waste. The man cannot bring anyting to this team that could help this team. Three years ago maybe, but not now, no way.

waynester

February 14th, 2012
10:56 pm

SW
Have you checked out Nicolas Jean-Baptiste from Baylor 6′2″ 335? I’d love to get him in the 5th–especially if we move to a 3/4…also George Iloka FS from Boise St….

SeminoleWarrior

February 14th, 2012
11:05 pm

Waynester, I really like Iloka. He is a larger version of Eric Weddle of the Chargers whom I really liked coming out of Utah a few years back. He will be watched closely at the Combine by the TeePee staff.

Baptiste did not show me the effort I was hoping for from a big man like him. Will have to see more. He probably will be a FA pickup post draft in my opinion.