(((Finishing up new Comprehensive Free Agent post, but wanted to get a new thread up as Free Agency draws close)))
After a decent lull following the Super Bowl, the NFL is ready to burst to life once again. This is particularly true for fans of a team that had given up most hope around the midpoint of the season. The Falcons have been relatively quiet in free agency the last few years and it appears that will change this off-season. Whether it be due to the fact that the Falcons simply have tons of holes to fill or that jobs are likely on the line, it seems as though sitting back and waiting might not cut it this free agency period. As the free agency bonanza dawns, here’s a few items and links from other writers and sites to help spur some conversations…..
This one came as a massive shock to most every Falcons fan. #44 has been a fan favorite for years with his gutsy play, toughness, and overall heart in playing the game. The consummate Falcon never complained about lack of opportunities and played his tail off whenever he got the chance, whether as a backup, on special teams, or taking over in a full-starting role. Two things that epitomize why fans always loved Snelling: #1) the fact that he almost single-handedly carried the Falcons to beat the Bucs in 2009 to end the back-to-back curse forever. And #2), when he broke his jaw against the Giants in the 2012 playoffs (2011 season) and actually played through it. He will be missed.
This was news that was both expected, but still met with happiness across the board. Peters has been one of the only forms of consistency and actual hope on an otherwise dreadful defensive line. Most saw this coming when Peters tore his Achilles heel in the next to last game after one of his better years. It would have been insane to think the Falcons wouldn’t have kept him anyway, but this is good for both sides: low risk, high reward for both parties.
After the deal had been reached, the only other players the Falcons have been reported to be meeting with has been DT Jonathan Babineaux and OC Joe Hawley. There’s still a few days to go, but there’s been no word of the Falcons in “serious” discussions to desperately keep either of the two.
There’s really no big names after Peters or Babineaux, but the Falcons seem ready to let all the other soon-to-be free agents either test the market and then bring them back or let them walk away altogether. Mike Johnson, Peria Jerry, Chase Coffman, and Dominique Franks are among the most notable. Robert McClain is an unrestricted free agent.
The franchise tag wasn’t used a ton in 2014, but it definitely kept a few dynamic players off the market. And most of them could have have been somewhere close to the Falcons radar, including DE Greg Hardy, OC Alex Mack, and LB/DE Brian Orakpo. Of course, that leaves a huge market for all the other free agents that could have an impact.
While some of the biggest names were tagged or re-signed, this shaping up to be just what the doctor ordered for the Falcons this off-season. If they play their cards right, it appears the Falcons could definitely fill a number of their golf course amount of holes on their roster.