What Free Agents will Atlanta Falcons Keep?

A Week Left and Some Big Names

It may not include as many names as last off-season, but the Atlanta Falcons are on the clock as to whether or not they intend to keep their soon-to-be free agents before they hit the open market. A good rule of thumb is to keep your guys well before the free agent frenzy starts, because anything and everything can happen. Last off-season saw the Falcons keep a great core together including Kroy Biermann, Jason Snelling, John Abraham, Harry Douglas, Tony Gonzalez, Thomas DeCoud, Michael Palmer, Antone Smith, and franchise tagging Brent Grimes. It may not be the flashiest and most exciting thing in the world to just keep your own players and not spend big on new ones, but that strategy yielded the Falcons one of their best in franchise history, coming up only 10 yards short of the Super Bowl.

The big names include William Moore, Sam Baker, and Brent Grimes, but there’s a slew of other players that have also been vital to the Falcons success. Vance Walker, Chris Owens, Garrett Reynolds, and Lawrence Sidbury are also set to hit the open market if deals aren’t done in the next week. The Falcons also have Michael Palmer as a restricted free agent as well as Robert McClain as an exclusive rights free agent. The Falcons organization may let some of their players test the market before bringing them back to Atlanta after all is said and done. Harry Douglas, Jason Snelling, and John Abraham were all allowed to test the market before they came back to the Falcons for a fair deal. However, anything can happen once the deadline passes. A look at the soon-to-be Falcons free agents………

William Moore

Age: 27 (turns 28 in May); 38 Games Started

Career Stats: 203 tackles, 25 passes defensed, 11 Ints, 5 FF, 1.5 sacks

Moore is the biggest name this off-season for the Falcons to keep. Moore just had his best season and was named to his first Pro Bowl, alongside his safety partner Thomas DeCoud. And that was done with missing 5 games due to injury. Even though injury issues have plagued Moore throughout his young career, this one is simply a no-brainer in terms of keeping the former Missouri Tiger. Moore brings a tenacity, toughness, and play-making ability that the Falcons sorely need to build around. He is good in run support and has an eye for the ball. The Falcons operate on a different level when he’s back there roaming around the secondary.

A No-Brainer (AJC)

He had good years in the past, but he seemed to flourish in Mike Nolan’s more aggressive approach and will likely only get better with more time in the system. While it’s true you can’t keep every single player you ever draft, the best teams make sure they find a way, any way, to keep players franchise players. Safety was easily the best part of the Falcons defense, and most of that was done with an extremely anemic pass rush. Just think how good he can be with a halfway decent one. All signs are good that the Falcons will get Moore signed before he hits the open market. The Falcons decided not to use the franchise tag on Moore and that seems to have paved the way for good negotiations. The tag number is close to $7 million dollars and Moore will probably be looking to secure something around the $5 to $6 million dollar a year range. He likely won’t be getting Tory Polamalu ($7.5 mill), Antrell Rolle ($7 mill), or Eric Berry ($7 mill) money as his base salary, but he’ll likely be looking at a Tyvon Branch and Eric Weddle ($6 mill) contract. He also could have a decent amount of incentives, such as staying healthy, that could boost his deal up any further. Surely, it’s just a matter of time before Moore is locked up.

Sam Baker

Age: 27 (turns 28 in May)

Career Stats: 57 Games Started

It’s funny the difference a year can make in the NFL. Last year, Baker was the biggest target for fans ire and many wanted to see him gone immediately, and based on his 2011 play, that wasn’t entirely crazy. However, Baker turned in quite possibly the best season of his 5 year career on the Falcons offensive line at left tackle. For once, Baker wasn’t the main culprit of the offensive line in allowing pressure on Matt Ryan. That was mostly reserved for Tyson Clabo and Todd McClure. It’s no coincidence that two of the Falcons best years, 2010 and 2012 that saw them win their division and lock up the NFC #1 seed, came when Baker was fully healthy and started every regular season game. Only a year ago, Baker was left as roadkill, but credit Coach Mike Smith big time on this one because he didn’t give up on Baker and said that injuries caused his lack of production. He was proven right in 2012 and it seems to be a win-win for everyone.

Baker Likely will Stay (AJC)

It’s hard not to think that the Falcons won’t try to keep Baker. And while he may not be Jake Long or Joe Thomas, he is a very serviceable left tackle that did a very good job of protecting Matt Ryan last season. He will only be 28 when the season hits and keeping a solid left tackle in tow for the next 5 years or so would be an amazing luxury. The big question will come down to price. How much is Baker looking for and how much are the Falcons willing to pay him. Baker was helped recently by some other big name tackles who could command more being franchise tagged. Both Branden Albert and Ryan Clady received the franchise tag. On one hand, it seems to drive Baker’s stock up with two big names being taken off the market. But on the other hand, those are two less names to drive up the overall price. Tyson Clabo signed a 5 year / $25 million contract a few years ago with $11.5 million of it being guaranteed. Clabo was coming off a Pro Bowl season, which Baker is not, but Clabo is a right tackle and left tackles usually command more. He had two down years with injuries and 3 solid ones. It’s hard to imagine Baker asking for, much less receiving, much more than $6 million. However, Doug Free signed a contract worth $7 million a year with the Cowboys and he’s not much better than Baker.

Brent Grimes

Age: 29 (turns 30 in July); 43 Games Started

Career Stats: 254 tackles, 56 passes defensed, 13 Ints, 1 FF

This one is the big mystery. The natural assumption is that the Falcons will look to keep Grimes since they cut Dunta Robinson. It always seemed to be a mutually exclusive choice between Grimes and Robinson and the Falcons now have a huge hole in their secondary. In fact, Asante Samuel and Dominique Franks are the only cornerbacks under contract on the roster. It’s likely the Falcons will keep Chris Owens and Robert McClain, but neither project to a frontline starter. Some believe that Grimes will only be looking for a one year “prove-it” contract before getting a longer (and likely) higher deal, especially after getting a $10.21 million franchise tag in 2012.

The Big Question: stay or go? (AJC)

Others think that Grimes will be looking to cash in on one last contract as he will be turning 30 this summer as well as coming back from major injury. The last report that came through during the combine was that Grimes was still not even running outside as of yet. The Falcons would surely like to keep him since A) they have a major need and, B) he’s been developed as an undrafted free agent since the Falcons signed him back in 2006.

It’s going to be extremely interesting to see how the Falcons let the Grimes situation play out. They could let him test the market and go from there accordingly, but they also could be out of luck since it only takes one team to take a chance on him. Who knows exactly how the relationship is with Grimes, his agent, and the Falcons after last year’s franchise tag. Grimes may not be the only answer to filling the empty CB spot, but at the moment it seems the most logical. Flowery Branch could always try to bring back Dunta Robinson at a lower rate as well once the market has settled. The contracts for cornerbacks are all over the place. Nnamdi Asomugah is due to make $15 million this year if he’s not cut. Brandon Carr just signed a 5 year / $50 million deal with the Cowboys last season, and even Antoine Winfield is due to make over $7 million with the Vikings in 2013. The only major wrench in the debate is how teams will feel about Grimes injury and subsequently committing a large amount of money to that.

Vance Walker

Age: 25 (turns 26 in April); 58 Games, 11 Games Started

Career Stats: 79 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 passes defensed, 2 FF

While Moore, Baker, and Grimes are the big names in this year’s off-season free agent list, Walker might be one of the most important. The former Georgia Tech product is likely one of the more underrated Falcons on the entire roster. A former 7th round draft pick who has turned out to be one of Dimitroff’s very best picks in 5 years. He may be considered a role player, but Walker has surely and steadily worked his way up the depth chart, moving from barely making the roster to being the 3rd D-Tackle in the rotation. He even started 9 games this year.

Huge Deal to Keep Walker (AJC)

Keeping Walker has Dimitroff written all over it. He has been invaluable to the defensive line with both Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters suffering injuries at some point the last few years. The belief among most is that the Falcons will be moving to the 3-4 and Walker figures permanently not just in the rotation, but as a potential starter at one of the 5-technique spots if in fact they do convert. Dimitroff has done a great job of keeping his core together and Walker is one of the linchpins of that core. While Walker may not garner much interest in the free agent market, at least until the first frenzied wave passes, he likely will be in line for a decent little payday. Even though Jason Snelling was kept for a 3 year, $4 million dollar deal, Walker is likely to be closer to Kroy Biermann’s 3 year / $9 million deal. It’s very reasonable to think that Walker will get somewhere in the vicinity of $2 million.

Chris Owens

Age: 26; Games: 59, Games Started: 12

Owens seems to be the forgotten man in the secondary behind William Moore and Brent Grimes, but he’s yet another one of the core pieces that have played a part in the Falcons recent success. While some may always remember Owens for his poor performance in the “Debacle in the Dome” vs. the Packers, he has been an overall very solid cornerback. Has he developed in a full-time, starting level cornerback? No. But he has been an excellent role player who has provided excellent depth as a Falcon. Some believe that since Owens hasn’t taken hold of one of the starting spots that it was a bad pick, but that might be a little short-sighted.

Good Rookie Year (AJC)

It’s often forgotten that Chris Owens was manning one of the cornerback spots very well that helped Atlanta win the final three games in 2009 to break the “back-to-back” curse once and for all (a stretch that included beating the New York Jets on the road, who later went to the AFC Championship game that year). That curse may seem trivial now, but it was a huge deal at the time for a very vulnerable franchise. The former San Jose State product looked much more comfortable and seemed more like his 2009 self under Mike Nolan’s new scheme. It just makes too much sense because it shouldn’t take too much to keep him. Maybe something similar to Jason Snelling’s $1 million per year type of deal. Also, he has shown enough potential to keep at the very young age of 26.

Lawrence Sidbury

Age: 27; Games: 48, Games Started: 0

Career Stats: 17 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 Def. TD

The vast majority of Falcons fans believe that Sidbury is as good as gone. And there’s really nothing to base any evidence to the contrary. A look at his stat sheet makes essentially renders him a ghost. The following is all the slam dunk facts that Sidbury likely won’t return to Atlanta. He has 17 total tackles in 4 years. He has never started a game since becoming a pro, and this on a team with one of the worst pass-rushing units in the NFL the last 4 years. He hasn’t had that long-awaited “breakthrough” playing under two different defensive coordinators. He even got leap-frogged by 2nd year pro Cliff Matthews and rookie Jonathan Massaquoi this season when Ray Edwards was cut. You’d be crazy to bet on the Falcons bringing back a player who might as well been a ghost the past 4 years.

Sidbury Long Gone (AJC)

However……..there’s just a gut feeling that many fans have that the Falcons could bring him back. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking, but anyone who notched the most sacks in a season not named John Abraham the past five years clearly should at least be considered. If Atlanta stays in the 4-3, then it’s a lock he’s gone, but with Abraham’s release the belief among many is that a move to the 3-4 is in store. In that case, Sidbury would seem like a perfect fit as a rush outside linebacker with his enormous athletic ability. Like Walker, Owens, and other role players, it’s hard to believe that Sidbury will command a large amount of interest due to his lack of production, so the Falcons could likely keep him for fairly cheap, perhaps on an incentive laden contract. More than likely it was a case of unrealized potential (for whatever reason), but fans can still hold out hope for one more try until another teams signs him.

((((Scratch all that. D. Orlando Ledbetter just wrote an article on how Sidbury can’t wait to leave Atlanta. Mike Smith better hope he doesn’t blow up somewhere else, because this is all on him)))))

Rest of post coming soon……..

Garrett Reynolds

Age: 25 (turns 26 in July)

Career Stats: 27 Games, 13 Games Started

Like a few others, Reynolds is another player that is quietly hitting the free agent market this season. The former Tar Heel has had a mixed bag in his first four years. He played right tackle exclusively all through college and reportedly even in high school. Many thought he was simply being groomed to take over for Tyson Clabo one day. But in an open competition to fill the hole left behind at right guard by Harvey Dahl, Reynolds won the job outright in 2011. It was an up and down start for Reynolds before he finally gave way to Joe Hawley in the starting lineup.

Hopefully Big Garrett is in Future (AJC)

Another competition in 2012 yielded Reynolds winning the starting job again, this time beating out 2nd round draft pick Peter Konz. This experience was a much better one, seeing Reynolds hold up at right guard while the Falcons got off to a blazing start. He was injured during the 6th game and was later placed on injured reserve. The injury and early exit kind of leaves Reynolds as a question mark. One season saw him get off to a really good start before falling to injury. But only a season ago saw him get replaced. The Falcons should want to keep Reynolds because he could be a perfect replacement for Tyson Clabo at right guard, who will be 32 himself this fall.

If nothing else, Reynolds has been an superbly versatile offensive linemen who could either compete for the RG spot again (assuming Konz moves to center), or bide his time until Clabo hangs them up / declines. A contract may break down similar to what they signed Will Svitek to a few years ago. A deal for 2 years / $3 million with half of it guaranteed. They obviously would make it more years since he’s younger and he could play into future plans, but $1 million per year seems about right. Hard to think they’ll let go of such a versatile linemen as they are finally solidifying a long nightmare position.

Robert McClain (Exclusive Rights FA)

Age: 24 (turns 25 in July);

Games: 31 (16 – CAR, 15 – ATL), Games Started: 5 (2 – CAR, 3 – ATL)

Career Stats: 77 tackles, 11 passes defensed, 1 int

The Falcons may have found themselves another Brent Grimes, and maybe even a replacement for him someday. Robert McClain came out of nowhere after being cut by the Panthers after his rookie season. He caught on with Jacksonville, but logged no playing time. He caught on with the Falcons and surprised everyone by making the roster. He was forced into action vs. the Broncos in the second game of the season after Grimes was injured for the year in week 1. Literally, his first play of the game and the season as a whole saw him pick off the great Peyton Manning.

McClain's a Big Keeper (AJC)

McClain became the de facto nickel back and even started 3 games for the Falcons in a very transient secondary. Many believe that McClain may even be competing for a starting position sooner than later and keeping both he and Owens seems a must at this point and would form a good solid pair of young and talented cornerbacks to build around. The only other cornerbacks under contract on the roster are Asante Samuel and Dominique Franks. An exclusive rights free agent means that he is a two year veteran and cannot negotiate with other teams. The only “free” part about it is that the player is free to quit. If the Falcons offer him the league minimum, he has to take it. However, going over the league minimum may lead to a smoother path on keeping him when he is actually is due to hit the market. (thanks to http://football.calsci.com/FreeAgency.html for the good info).

Michael Palmer (Restricted Free Agent);

Career Stats: Games -53;  23 rec, 123 yards, 3 TDs

Believe it or not, Michael Palmer has been with the Falcons for 3 years. The former Parkview product was signed as an undrafted free agent and has been one of Dimitroff’s best UDFA signings. Palmer, and really any tight end not named Gonzalez, has been completely overlooked, but he has firmly cemented his place on the roster as the backup TE to future Hall of Famer. Palmer won’t even be confused with Rob Gronkowski, but he’s been a very good #2 tight end: sure hands, chain mover if needed, and great blocker.

Palmer Solid #2 TE (AJC)

If Gonzalez does retire and the Falcons don’t replace him in free agency or the draft, than it’s very feasible that Palmer will split some time with Chase Coffman at tight end. Coffman definitely has more pass-catching ability, but Palmer adds a nice complement. The two offer a nice combination together. Palmer is a restricted free agent and he technically could negotiate with other teams, but even so, the Falcons have any final chance to match any other offers.

Todd McClure

Age: 36

Career Stats: 195 Games, 198 Games Started

A book could be written about McClure and how awesome of a Falcon he’s been. He’s started almost 200 games for the Atlanta Falcons and one of their best all-time players and overall leaders. There’s a good chance he’ll be hanging next to Jeff Van Note someday in the Ring of Honor. But it’s simply time to move on. He signed a 1 year contract worth $990k well after the free agency period began last year. Maybe it was their plan all along to have him start, but father time has caught up with him. He’s still a great leader on the OL, but his physical skill set has diminished.

It's Been a Great Run (AJC)

It’s time to build this offensive line for the future and McClure’s road has come to an end. There’s a chance the Falcons could bring him back for depth purposes, but knowing Coach Smith, if that happens than he’ll probably be starting again in 2013. But that doesn’t mean he should.

Mike Cox

Will Svitek

Chris Hope

Luke McCown

1,032 comments Add your comment

just "little ole" me

March 7th, 2013
11:20 am

I would like to see the following return:
William Moore
Sam Baker (only at the right price) Not sold on him!
Vance Walker
Chris Owens
L. Sidbury – but we know that’s not happening :(
Robert McClain
Michael Palmer

The others I think would just be blocking younger talent that needs to be on the field. I kind of feel that way about Baker also, and I am worried that we will get the pre 2012 Baker if we sign him to a long term deal.

just "little ole" me

March 7th, 2013
11:25 am

I would also like to add Abe to the list. For the right price I like him as a situaltional player even if we go to a 3-4!

The Time is NOW

March 7th, 2013
11:27 am

Thanks for all you do, D3!

The Time is NOW

March 7th, 2013
11:28 am

Ken Strickland – “While he’s not your prototypical NT, it all depends on which 3-4 technique we decide to use.” (Speaking of Kawann Short.)

That’s the big question! I would not be surprised if we gradually add pieces to enable us to eventually move to a two gap 3-4. It would probably take some patience, because we most likely need more starting caliber players to make a move to that system as our base than we can add in one offseason. I’m guessing we’ll see more 3-4 looks next year, but the transition may take two or three years to complete. Expecting to see plenty of hybrid looks based on the players they will have to work with (including 3-3-5 and 4-2-5 looks). Time will tell…

Ced

March 7th, 2013
12:12 pm

I’d like to see Abe return, but we need Moore, Grime, and McClain definitly not sold on Owens yet.

Matty Bicep

March 7th, 2013
12:15 pm

I find it interesting that Sid played 23 defensive snaps in week 2 and week 3, and he did not get a single snap after Edwards left.

I ain’t no genius or nothing, but my guess is his tape in week 2 and week 3 was not all that good. He also went through 2 defensive coordinators, and BVG got more production out of him than Nolan did.

It is curious to say the least, but I ain’t making travel arrangements to attend his HOF induction speech just yet.

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH

March 7th, 2013
12:37 pm

MB, You’re consistent, if nothing else. Your comments wouldn’t be another one of your fragile attempts defend Smith, would it?

waynester

March 7th, 2013
1:02 pm

Coach Smith doesn’t need defending. This is all on Sidbury. Our staff has seen and worked with this guy since he got here from that powerhouse, Richmond. If he was that talented he’d be on the field. He’s not on the field. Only a suicidal GM/HC would refuse to play a guy who could make or break your season. Our braintrust may be a lot of things, but stupid ain’t one of them. To the former Spider–good luck with your future team and don’t burn bridges behind you by letting your mouthpiece write checks that your bad self can’t cash…

SG

March 7th, 2013
1:11 pm

Great stats outline D3. Much appreciated. This may be the most important FA period since the current regime took over. Getting antsy that there’s no news regarding Moore as other teams can start negotiating after midnight Friday – can’t close till Tuesday but can start the chat. Fingers crossed that between FAs and the Draft, (I’m liking Margus Hunt) we ‘re locked and loaded for a revisit w/ the 49ers.

D3

March 7th, 2013
1:37 pm

Great Thursday Cage! — We’re almost to the weekend!

Let’s dive right in on the Sidbury talk, because that’s what’s dominating the airwaves……..

waynester / MB — You’re both correct in your statements. Why would they intentionally sabotage themselves if they have a weapon? It’s hard to argue with that to be honest. There’s no evidence to support any of our arguments, but it’s just a gut feeling. The problem I have is that we’ve seen Sidbury with our own eyes be able to get to the quarterback. In fact, he had the most sacks of anyone other than Abe the last 4 years and that was very minimal snaps. It’s true that sometimes, players just don’t fit. And in that case, TD has to take some blame. But…….

Here’s issue I have: it’s not exactly like we have a ton of guys laying around that can rush the passer. We don’t have anyone on the roster who can rush the passer, other than Abraham. We don’t have Osi, JPP, and Tuck on the front line and it’s a matter of he just can’t see the field. In fact, we’ve had one of the poorest pass rushes in all of the NFL. Guess what we were all saying back in the 2009 off-season :arrow: “must find a complement pass rusher to help out Abraham”

If that’s not enough to raise suspicions, than here’s the kicker……..

Ray Edwards got cut towards the middle of the season and both a 2nd year pro (Cliff Matt) and a rookie (Mass) jump over Sidbury. I have a hard time believing that it was just “after the first couple of weeks” that they realized Sidbury didn’t fit. Hell, the same thing has happened the 2 previous years. So here’s my final question for Smitty: why in the hell keep a guy when you know you’re not going to play them? Why not just go ahead and let a guy like CB Peyton Thompson, DT Micanor Regis, or LB Pat Schiller get the nod on the roster and get some experience? I agree that in most cases, it may just not be a good fit, but on this one, something’s rotten in Flowery Branch.

D3

March 7th, 2013
1:45 pm

Right or wrong, it looks like we’re getting a new stadium. Sure hope we can still afford to go to the games…….

ATLANTA -
FOX 5 News has learned that a tentative deal has been reached to build a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons.

Mayor Kasim Reed and team owner Arthur Blank are expected to make the announcement during a press conference set for 2:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Early speculation has been that the stadium would have a price tag of $1 billion: $800 million to come from the Falcons and the other $200 million to come from the city’s hotel-motel tax.

Die Hard Falcon

March 7th, 2013
2:15 pm

I would like to see return, in order of importance to me, Moore, Baker, McClain, Owens, Walker. I would insert Grimes but only at a discount, like 3 or 4 mil a season at most. Otherwise, I feel that Cox was only on the roster b/c of Ewing’s injury, and Palmer, I just don’t think he’ll be much of anything other than a minor role player, not opposed to him coming back, but don’t feel it’s that important either. McCown should be let go in favor of Dom Davis. Also, McClure, Svitek, and Hope can all be put out to pasture.

Go Falcons!!!

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH

March 7th, 2013
2:19 pm

Well there’s one small detail about the Sidbury story thats getting glossed over, he’s not getting released (cut) he’s leaving on his own accord. So, for a player that had IMO, an overwhelming chance of remaining a Falcon, The coaches still had a need for his services.

Now that kinda cuts to the chase about him not fitting the scheme (system). Moreover, with word on the street that we’re not gravitating to a 3-4? there’s alot missing in this whole deal.

John Waynesworld

March 7th, 2013
2:21 pm

Thanks, D3. Rushed or not, some darn good stuff here to think about.

Moore – He’s a keeper, and the price is right. I’m still worried about the occasional health issue.

Baker – It is interesting that after only one solid year Baker is getting a new contract, as opposed to franchising him for 2013 just to see if he can continue the good work. If Sam has another good season, trying to sign him to a contract next off season with 2 solid seasons under his belt would be even more costly. A good move signing him to a multi-year contract now (since there seems to be no health concerns), plus now we can draft a LT for down the road and Sam can help coach him without worring about his job (good for morale).

Grimes – Coming off the injury has to affect the dollar amount here. We could let him go and draft a CB, or sign him to a contract that could be tempered in the first year with some stipulations like games played. Depending on which leg he favors, Grimes’ achilles injury could cost him (and us) that tremendous verticle jump that makes him so special (and expensive). Not to mention backward mobility and cutting. It might be better just to go with a cheaper FA or a high draft pick that the rest of the secondary (full of veterans) can coach up in a hurry.

Walker – Solid although unspectacular, which pretty much sums up the entire defensive line. A keeper at the right price.

Owens – I am warming up to this guy. He played some good ball last season, again considering the incredible lack of a pass rush. A reasonable contract is deserved.

Sidbury – Good luck anywhere but in the NFC South.

Garrett Reynolds – He’s been here so long he’s like family, and whatever penalty issues he had years ago are completely gone. If they want to keep him as a reserve, I’m good with that. He is a huge guy and he has been in some big games.

Robert McClain – A gem, pure and simple. Not worthy of the big check (yet), but $how him some love, TD.

Michael Palmer – I know some folks here in the Cage like him, but it just seems to me that he could be replaced by 50 other guys in the league. Offer him a backup’s contract and see if he bolts.

Todd McClure – Ring of Honor soon-to-be. It’s time to retire unless he takes a super-friendly, 1-year reserve-player/coach contract.

Mike Cox – He helped out big time last season when Ewing went down, but it’s going to have to be an either/or situation at FB because we need the roster spot. I don’t know how they work a contract for competition like that.

Will Svitek – A keeper because Matt trusts him with his back. The injury got him just when he was playing well. Still, like Grimes, the contract has to address the injury situation. BTW, I think it is great that we can’t discount ANY of our offensive linemen because they commit too many penalties. All of our guys are awesome about that.

Chris Hope – Keep Hope with no change. Sorry. He proved himself a solid player when we needed him. A keeper for the right price, especially as insurance for this season until either Mitchell shows up, Schillinger figures it out, or we add another Safety who can ball hawk as well as tackle.

Luke McCown – Who? Oh yea, him…If he plays for free and doesn’t mind being #3, keep him. Otherwise bring Redman back as the #3 (he would probably want the job) and let him tutor our new #2 Mr. Davis. Plus, Redman would be a perfect emergency QB, again for the right price.

D3

March 7th, 2013
3:06 pm

JWW — Thanks. RE: Sidbury…..I bet he follows the “Crybaby Curtis” route and goes to the Saints. :oops:

I think many of us have always had a real bad feeling about this situation and this recent story just confirms it. TD himself said it was “a coaches decision.” Should have cut him 2 years ago if that was the case.

SOMEBODY — I know man. I was in such a good mood this morning regarding our birds and !!!BAM!!!, these two pieces are gut punch. This ones all on Smitty on the Sidbury thing. Bradley is guessing as much as we are the 4-3 vs. 3-4 thing, but if we stay in the 4-3, get ready for a really s—-y year on defense. We haven’t been able to groom ONE EFFIN’ DE in 5 years, so what the hell makes anyone think we can get TWO in one off-season? Joke.

Big Ray

March 7th, 2013
3:11 pm

Somebody hits the nail on the head.

Something about this story is not matching up (not that it matters, it’s over anyway). I’ll repost my opinion on this from yesterday. And NO, it’s not Anti- Mike Smith. But it’s bothersome.

My thoughts:

I will say this on the Sidbury situation – I’m not upset per se. But the situation is plain weird.

1) This does show how much agents affect situations. I get tired of hearing from agents, but it is what it is.

2) No idea how Sid managed to get into Smitty’s doghouse, but there is something else that makes this controversial. Ray Edwards was CUT and was still owed a decent chunk of money when it happened. What did Sid do that was so bad he rarely got snaps, but not bad enough to cut him?

3) The thing that DOES bug me is Sidbury was a 4th round pick. I don’t recall him being hurt a lot, and I don’t remember hearing anything about him getting into any off-the-field problems/issues either. Again – a 4th round pick. At that point, he should have been cut if he was a wash-out, but the last we’d seen of him, he was getting sacks.

I did see where he wasn’t able to stick on STs. Still…if dude can’t cut it on STs and he’s not getting snaps at his normal position… why the EFF was he kept around ?

Seriously weird and I don’t ever want to see us waste another draft pick (particularly one that high) and roster spot like that again.

And if I’m Jonathon Massaquoi…I’m taking notes….

One more time…if he wasn’t any good on STs and he wasn’t any good at his regular job…

He was a 4th round pick. It’s not a high pick, it’s not a low pick. But it’s a significant pick. Ask anybody who still bemoans the Julio Jones trade…

Big Ray

March 7th, 2013
3:19 pm

That’s another thing. Staying in the 4-3 base offense and playing Nickle all the damn time bothers me as a possibility.

As D3 says, that could get really crappy. Three thoughts on it –

1) As D3 says…we have yet to develop a single DE behind OR opposite John Abraham.

2) There is no rescuer coming in this draft. I just don’t see it. Even the best DE in the draft will only be able to do so much without good solid play from the DTs. We’ve been over that ad nauseum.

3) This will prompt some to holler about keeping Abe. What more evidence is needed to prove that this is not a solution? Did Abe save our defense last season? How about the season before? Have you seen our numbers?

It starts with the DTs and ends with the LBs. We must draft at both positions, and draft smartly, regardless of which defensive base we go with.

If we stick with the same base and it fails…some of the blame will go on Nolan, but ultimately it will go on Smith because that is HIS decision and as a former DC he is ultimately culpable. I don’t want to see this fail. But if we’re gonna stick with the 4-3 with just some sprinkling of the 3-4 hybrid….we better draft DT high in this draft, then pick a decent one up in free agency.

Go grab Sammie Lee Hill from Detroit so you have at least one monster-sized body in there to help stop the run and push the middle of the pocket. And effin’ cut Peria Jerry already. Give Vance Walker more playing time and get Travian in there more. Peters has to get back to good health. But damn, we have to augment this line or our DEs are gonna get swallowed….AGAIN.

Big Ray

March 7th, 2013
3:26 pm

http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/45707/around-the-nfc-south-461

I actually don’t have an issue with this even though Ball is not my top RB pick. Still, the below article upped his value in my humble opinion.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/blog/rob-rang/21824594/pro-days-badgers-ball-shows-improved-speed

I don’t know that any RB is going in the first round, to be honest. I think that run may start in the 2nd round, even though most pundits predict that the 3rd round will be the round of the RB.

If we are going to hit on that position in the draft, we’re either going to have to

1) Do it at the bottom of the 2nd. I don’t really like this idea as I think we are better off getting a defender again (as we should be doing in the 1st…but if for some strange reason we don’t do that in the first, we BETTER be doing it in the 2nd…trading up even, if necessary).

2) Trade up in the 3rd. This may not be necessary and I don’t like trading up in the top 3 rounds (can be expensive in what you have to give up), but I think the better RBs could be gone by the time we pick in the bottom of the round. Then again, I could just be panicking.

3) Wait until the 4th where we should have two picks, and see who is left, if there are any good players still there.

4) Forget about it until the 6th round or so, and just nabe a “project”. Knile Davis would get my vote here if he wasn’t such an injury worry.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

[...] tlanta Journal Constitution [...]

Matty Bicep

March 7th, 2013
3:47 pm

Again, I am not cemented into an opinion regarding Sid, and you are correct we have seen it, we have seen him bring down the QB in limited playing time. He might very well make us look silly, he obviously soured on how he was being developed. I wonder where Nolan is with all this.

D3

March 7th, 2013
3:59 pm

BR — Totally agree. Sidbury perhaps represents the possible disconnect better than any other in five years. He has talent when he’s drafted. He showed talent his rookie year. If he can’t get on the field, then cut him and create a spot. If you think he can turn the corner, than play his @ss. He should get a chance on one of the worst pass rushing defenses in the NFL. Just BS…….

RE: Ball & RB’s……….I love Ball’s production and I guess it would be a good complement to Quizz, but I just can’t get excited about him as I do others. Don’t get me wrong, I would like to have him, but I have several others ahead. Still going with this order today, even though it’s changed a little. I think that Jonathan Franklin is my new favorite. Between his impressive combine and excellent production, I’m liking Franklin. Also, this guy may not be getting the hype, Giovanni Bernard had better per game production than Lacy did, and way better in the pass game. My order (even though I’m against using it in the first)

1) Eddie Lacy
2) Giovani Bernard
3) Jonathan Franklin
4) Stepfan Taylor
5) Joseph Randle (dropped him on my board due to poor combine)
6) Montee Ball

I agree with you. Due to Lacy not working out and injury concerns, I absolutely don’t see any RB’s going in first round. I agree with you about their being a run in the second.

Die Hard Falcon

March 7th, 2013
4:20 pm

Seeing that article from MB about us not switching to a 3 – 4 made me sick, I REALLY hope he’s wrong about that. If we don’t make the switch and we have the same poor passrush production, I will be livid! I just think that Einstein is right “do the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity”

Go Falcons!!!

falcon21

March 7th, 2013
4:40 pm

So Sidbury wants out, ok, so get someone that wants to be here. I will leave it at that until I see more info. It’s not fair to judge Sidbury just yet.

LRD

March 7th, 2013
4:48 pm

Grimes… lets see what free agency mkt looks like. If there is a flood DBs then maybe we can pick him up cheaper… The injury nags at me…
But we must keep McClane and Owens if we resign Grimes to have the depth needed if Grimes goes down or is not as productive etc. So domino effect.. but at least McClane is restricted for us
Baker: I am as guilty as most bemoaning Baker, but he was solid last year, and we need him back.
Svitek: Keep, and hopefully he can keep healthy

Dunta: Do we get him back significantly Cheaper?
Abe: Rumor the Titans want him.

New Stadium: 1) Hate that marta will not go directly to the stadium 2) I really hope I do not end up with seat lic! 3) How much money will be wasted on grift, “friends” and just plain ole political favors?
That being said… you know it was going to happen.. so instead of complaining, going to embrace.

[...] News here – Atlanta Falcons: The Cage ← City, Falcons come to deal on new $1B stadium Cancel [...]

Joshua malavenda

March 7th, 2013
5:09 pm

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
5:27 pm

You were warned.

Disconnect and now, duped.

Stand by….

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
5:50 pm

40.2 million dollars.

What do we have to show for it? Disconnect.

Ray Edwards and Dunta Robinson. According to CFA Smith,they would change the way our defense would play and evolve. Some 33.5 million later, CFA Smith was wrong.

4.4 million dollars to an aging all Pro who was clearly in decline but you duped us into believing that he could be a viable force under a new coordinator. Just a few days ago, the Predator bid us a very classy farewell.

2.28 million over four years yet never received a true chance. But left without making one negative point against the team that did not give him a viable chance. He flashed potential; more than any DE that the Falcons had on the roster not named Abe or Biermann.

I found these comments somewhere else and for the TeePee, they are very telling:

I think it is pretty clear that your one Mr. Head coach former DC self appointed genius Mike Smith concluded early on that he didn’t think Sidbury had it. Considering this player made NO public complaints and made all attempts there to be a good team mate and solifd citizen, it doesn’t appear to be a personality thing or any acrimony. Considering Sidbury got no chance while making the team through two different DC’s indicates that it wasn’t the DC necessarily down on Sidbury. This has head coach written all over it. A head coach that continues to make mistake after mistake every year, burdening a team that wins despite a HC that’s proven he is ill-equipped to get this team to a championship.

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
6:15 pm

Emmitt Thomas…gone
BVG….gone
Boudreau…gone
Mad Mike….gone

Replacements: Tim Lewis (F) – secondary has not improved especially given the 32+plus million dollars invested in Grimes and Robinson over the previous two-plus years.

Mike Nolan (TBD): Unit actually regressed in his first year and now, I guess he is preparing to “acquire” his own people.

Pat Hill (B): Unit was effective for the most part and stayed away from serious injury issues that plagued them last season.

DK (A): Adapted the scheme to the talent that he had in place….

Is it strange to anyone that the shortcomings of this team continue to be on the defensive side of the ball. And is it not strange that the GREATEST coaching experience appears to be on that side of the ball?

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
6:25 pm

“I don’t really know the game plan for next year,” …… said. “I don’t know (the coaching staff’s) thoughts as far as us moving forward. I’m always open to competition and competing to do different things for my team. I definitely want to do whatever I can to make sure that my team succeeds.”

A very interesting assessment from a Falcons team veteran….

marko

March 7th, 2013
6:26 pm

Baker and Moore are top priorities obviously, Baker first, When we drafted him, he was highly regarded as a right tackle. I still think that’s his natural position. I don’t have any idea about Holmes progress at this point. What little slips, from the Branch, seems to indicate that they like the kid. If you could start a kid that was only a third round pick last year You’d obviously save a lot of cap space. If he can start, where do you start him? Unlike Baker, his natural position would seem to be left tackle. I can see a scenario where Baker takes over the right side Holmes slides in at the left side , and Clabo ends up the odd man out. We’re paying Clabo a Pro Bowlers contract, but he hasn’t been to one since his contract year. Bottom line Baker didn’t go to the Pro Bowl last year. I think he’s a better right tackle than Clabo. I also think we can resign him for less than we pay Clabo. If Lamar Holmes was a serious pick, We could strengthen our line and save money in the process. Inquiring minds want to know if TD was serious when he drafted Holmes.

Verdict, cut Clabo sign Baker. Signing a big contract’s part A. Proving that you deserved it is part B. Ask Ray Edwards, I’m sure that he can explain it to you.

William Moore, Sign him, You stole him to start with. Everybody that watched him play knew he was a first round talent. Why he fell to the back side of the second round is a total mystery to me. If you sign him I promise that he will frequently be invited to Pro bowls. We can’t say that about Clabo can we? Wilmo’s earned a paycheck.

Wings

March 7th, 2013
6:27 pm

I said this about the same time last year:

Leopards do not change their spots. I was referring to the CFA then and now.

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
6:34 pm

Opinion….

As it appears that this team is still determined to apply band aids to an persistant wound, The TeePee feels that it would be in the best interest to retain EACH of our free agents. El Sid is apparently not in the mix and the TeePee thinks that is a significant miscue on the part of the team.

As stated before, I place it squarely in the lap of CFA Smith and his defensive staff who have not shown me the capacity to develop talent in a sustainable manner. The young men seem to get by on the wings of their own grit and lady luck. Consistent, high quality defensive line play as well as a consistent pass defense effort in the secondary is still the KEY factor in the inability of the team to advance to the next level.

There is insufficient, quality depth at every key position behind the defensive front. At cornerback, safety, and linebacker, we are one MAJOR injury away from being an absolute train wreck. Samuel and Grimes have injury history now and depth (Owens/McClain) has some promise but not enough extensive skill for a stretch run. DeCoud and Moore continue to grow but there is considerable room for improvement in both of their respective games. And again, depth is inadequate.

This window is at a crossroads. And things could get very interesting in 2013. Just remember, you were warned. This disconnect has been rolling down the track for a little while.

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
6:38 pm

Wings @ 6:27. You did say it. I will give you your props. You and a few others sensed the same disconnect. And it just did not sit well with us. And now, the evidence appears to be increasing.

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
6:47 pm

Marko,

Where did you see that Baker was projected as a right tackle coming out in 2008? Everything I read had him as a first round LT selection going into the season (2007-08) before injuries caused his stock to drop.

A three time All American, four year starter at USC at left tackle.

Birdman

March 7th, 2013
6:50 pm

Birdman

March 7th, 2013
6:54 pm

I wish Abraham well if he lands a job in Seattle . Good Man !!

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
7:00 pm

If we stick with the same base and it fails…some of the blame will go on Nolan, but ultimately it will go on Smith because that is HIS decision and as a former DC he is ultimately culpable. I don’t want to see this fail. But if we’re gonna stick with the 4-3 with just some sprinkling of the 3-4 hybrid….we better draft DT high in this draft, then pick a decent one up in free agency…BR.

My brother, you have been warned. Get ready to lay the blame right where it belongs.

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
7:03 pm

Birdman, welcome back.

The TeePee is not a fan of Montgomery.

DL personnel from LSU have been overrrated over the last few years and underachievers. I see no difference this draft.

marko

March 7th, 2013
7:04 pm

When Thomas, and Smitty arrived on the scene, They drafted a rookie quarterback, and a rookie left tackle. They started both of them. That took courage, as young TD, and the lightly regarded defensive coordinator he selected to run the show were anything but proven commodities. A bad year, and Arthur might of decided that he’d suffered a severe case of brain fart, and sent them both packing. As the years have passed, TD has traded picks for senior citizen tight ends, Boatloads of picks for a wide receiver, and a left tackle nobody ever heard of from a planet somewhere near Mississippi. Thomas is still flying by the seat of his pants. His coach, on the the other hand seems to be getting more timid by the year. I’ve seen products advertised on late night television for elderly men suffering from the loss of testosterone. Perhaps we should chip in and buy some for Smitty.

marko

March 7th, 2013
7:07 pm

Seminole my Man, good to hear from you, Baker was projected a right tackle. Something to do with is itty bitty short arms.

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
7:08 pm

On a side note, how does Home Depot Field sound? LOL….I agree, it sucks!!

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
7:09 pm

Ok, bro. I had a feeling that was it but I could not find any notes directly making the assumption.

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
7:11 pm

“Thomas is still flying by the seat of his pants. His coach, on the the other hand seems to be getting more timid by the year. I’ve seen products advertised on late night television for elderly men suffering from the loss of testosterone. Perhaps we should chip in and buy some for Smitty”…marko

LMAO….well done, brother. Well done.

.

SeminoleWarrior

March 7th, 2013
7:18 pm

Falcons Field….

Coca Cola Park…

Delta Field….

marko

March 7th, 2013
7:24 pm

Seminole, the remaining draft profiles are positive about Bakers prospects as a left tackle. Nonetheless, I remember reports stating that his best position was right tackle. The surviving reports indicate that he was well suited for a zone scheme for what eer that’s worth.

technofalconeer

March 7th, 2013
7:26 pm

I find it funny everyone was ready to fire sam baker last year and now we are prepared to pay big bucks?? some interesting tackles available this year- Is grimes back to his healthy self?? moore hit like a monster and stepped it up- I would like to see one more “good” year out of him before paying all these big bucks. cox played extremely well- Is ewing healthy- cox has alot of experience and always appears to get the job done–liked sidbury-?? why no more chances this past year, esp when we were hurting for pass rush- ?? good luck sid- falcons- GET us a pass rusher PLEASE