Atlanta Falcons Free Agency Open Thread

A Few Transactions as Free Agency Nears

Snelling will be missed (AJC)

(((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…..

Ironman and Fan Favorite Jason Snelling Retires

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.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10552398/jason-snelling-atlanta-falcons-announces-retiremen

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24468191/falcons-rb-jason-snelling-to-retire-at-age-30

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/03/04/jason-snelling-announces-his-retirement/

http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/football/falcons-rb-jason-snelling-to-retire/nd5r8/

Corey Peters Re-signed to 1 year Deal

Peters Back in Fold (AJC)

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.

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2014/3/4/5470612/corey-peters-signs-one-year-deal-with-atlanta-falcons

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/03/05/corey-peters-expects-to-be-ready-for-start-of-season/

http://atlantafalcons.blog.ajc.com/2014/03/04/corey-peters-signs-one-year-deal/

Falcons Talking to Babineaux, Hawley

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.

http://nflspinzone.com/2014/03/04/atlanta-falcons-start-talks-jonathan-babineaux-joe-hawley-corey-peters/

Seem Prepared to Let All Others Test or Walk

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.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000316435/article/2014-nfl-free-agents-team

Several Possible Targets Tagged

Falcons Appear Done with Coffman (AJC)

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.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000330283/article/franchise-tag-tracker

A Very Deep Free Agent Class

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.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1977601-weighing-the-pros-and-cons-of-the-atlanta-falcons-top-free-agent-targets

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/03/05/the-free-agent-hot-100-3/

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000329702/article/jimmy-graham-heads-top-101-nfl-free-agents-for-2014

254 comments Add your comment

Nookah

March 5th, 2014
11:41 pm

Greetings Cagers!

D3,

Thanks bro. On the question of FA’s I think we should take a flyer on Melton. I think he will be cheap enough to carry him as a backup/depth initially and then if he recovers we would enjoy a glut at that position which would allow us some flexibility. Of course I am assuming we can get him at great value now. This guy was a beast before his injury.

On another note, I am not sold on Michael Johnson. Can someone convince me? I am very worried about the dip to 3 sacks last year.

Go Falcons!

Nookah

March 5th, 2014
11:42 pm

Am I first and second?

Hamad Meander

March 6th, 2014
1:20 am

Hate to see Snelling go. I thought he was the best RB on our roster. It’s time for the Falcons to step up and spend some money. If we get out of free agency without two offensive linemen and at least one defensive tackle, I’m going to be worried. I can live with a center and guard, or a tackle and center, or a tackle and guard, but we better not go into 2014 with more than 2 starters from last year’s offensive line. It seems like money well spent too. Other positions like pass rushing DE cost more than good solid offensive linemen.

Mike from London

March 6th, 2014
2:24 am

I think the Falcons need to be careful when approching free agency. Take Ab vs Ray Edwards. One was a consummate professional signs a $45 million 6 year deal and gives us his all. Ray Edwards received $27 million 5 year deal and immediately goes MIA. I think that the problem with Edwards was they looked at the numbers more than the player himself. Management need to look for players that are either motivated to win or motivated to earn a better contract. Let’s face it although we all love the Falcons the players intially are in it for the love of the game but we have to remember its also their job and money talks. Management need to evaluate players to ensure they are not giving them the earth as they seem to get stuck with players who are earning top dollar but aren’t playing like they do.

marko

March 6th, 2014
5:56 am

http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2014/03/05/charlie-casserly-nfl-analyst-from-the-nfl-network/

Jamie Dukes talks to former Texans general manager, Charlie Casserly, about fixing the Falcons. Lots of good stuff here. I found his comments on Taylor Lewan particularly interesting. He said that Taylor would be a great pick for the Falcons where ever they selected him, and that if we were to trade back, and still land him, it would be a home run.

Wings

March 6th, 2014
7:05 am

Big Ray was Travis Frederick the best center in the draft when the Cowboys took him? I can’t remember. I was always suspicious of Konz when he was designated as such. Those kind of statements usually mean not all is being revealed.

RoddyRules

March 6th, 2014
8:35 am

This is certainly an exciting time. I’m not sold on Johnson right now at all. He did not outperform Osi in pass rush last year and Beirman for that matter is capable of getting 3-4 sacks. In other words in terms of ability to get to the passer we already have Johnson’s production on the roster. I would rather the Falcons go after Hatcher from Dallas. At 6′-6″, 300 he immediately provides the Falcons with an interior pass rush they have lacked for myears. I realize he is 31, but I think he can be had for around the price of Babineaux’s contract the last few years, maybe a little more a little more. I would love a 4 year contract for Hatcher with no money guaranteed in the last two.

Nookah mentioned Melton earlier and he could provide the same thing but I’m not sure how much of a discount we would get for him coming off of injury given his age. After being Franchised last year Melton is of-course looking for that huge payday as this is the prime of his career and he has really only gotten big money only one year when he was franchised after playing out a 4 year rookie 4th round 4 year contract. The caveat here is Melton may be willing to roll the dice on his ability with a 1 year deal in 2014 similar to what Bennett did with Seattle. Are the Falcons going to book that bet is the question?

RoddyRules

March 6th, 2014
8:53 am

The way things are starting to shape up if the Falcons want one of the BIG 3 OT’s in this years draft, there will not be any trading down as they will be lucky if one of them makes it to the #6 pick. With the reality starting to sink in that trading back into the 1st round to grab one of the top DT’s may be more expensive than I think many of us are willing to pay, I think the Falcons really need at least 1 impact DL signing and Babineaux does not qualify in my opinion.

If the Falcons decide they do NOT want one of the BIG 3 OT’s, then the #6 pick is looking to be more and more valuable, as not only a possible spot that could be used on a QB, but also a place to grab the last available top rated OT.

So many variables here it’s fun to think about, but one things for sure, the Falcons are going to have a great opportunity to improve this team. If the Falcons do decide

RoddyRules

March 6th, 2014
9:00 am

to trade down after addressing the OL in FA, and are able to pick up an extra 2cnd round pick. They could be looking at an opportunity to draft one of the 2 top rated FS (Dix or Pryor), with my personal preference being Pryor. Then package that extra 2cnd rounder with another of the Falcon’s valuable picks in this years draft (I believe they have the 68th pick in the 3rd round) and trade right back into the bottom of the 1st to take one of the top rated DT’s (Hageman or Nix), thus giving us two top talents as starters for the D next year at two positions of need. Either way they are a WINNER.

Cedric

March 6th, 2014
9:01 am

I think the Falcons can really hit a hometun in this off season or fall flat on there faces this year ….. I know there is a lot of wholes that need to be filled, but we dont have enough cap and draft picks to fill them …. So I suggest focusing on the big issues and thats Oline and the entire defense ….. I hope we are able to snag Byrd without making a huge huge dent in cap space …. We should sign Babs back before he turns into another Abraham and we regret letting him go … With those two signing money should still be on our table to get a TE or G …. FA will tell me what we will do in the draft and next season …

paddy o

March 6th, 2014
9:06 am

always thought we’d use a double back field of Quizz and Snelling – both could block, both could catch. Just line up the same 11 guys and run either a pass or run play out of it. deception is still key in the NFL. Thanks, Mr. Snelling! I’m gonna miss him; like I miss Fin and Dahl.

paddy o

March 6th, 2014
9:20 am

the Snelling play I remember came against the Ravens – caught the ball at about the 25, did some dipping, broke 2 tackles and snuck into the endzone. if you watch snelling highlights on youtube, most of the more complicated plays came under Mike Malarkey. I starting to think our offense is MORE predictable under Welcome Back – and, we do miss Ovie.

Ken Strickland

March 6th, 2014
9:27 am

Is there anyone besides me who thinks the fiasco we had at RG & RT, not to mention LT, would have affected the performance & ranking of any C if he had to play on last yrs Falcons OL?

Nookah

March 6th, 2014
9:59 am

Greetings Cagers!!

i know we have good cap space especially when we are compared to our rivals in the NFC South. So we have to make hay while the sun is shining. It is also very important for this regime to get it right or else we’ll be looking at new management and coach next year signified by AB’s 1 year extensions to TD and MS.

We have many holes to fill but we have to be fiscally responsible. we can get very good depth from this FA class. Why not take a chance on Johnathan Martin? Isn’t he better than what we currently have? What would be his price tag? Not prohibitive I would guess.

Go Falcons!!!

Ken Strickland

March 6th, 2014
11:32 am

I just don’t understand how we think we can predict or do a mock draft prior to FA, especially on a team with multiple needs, plenty of cap space & high draft picks like the Falcons. If we signed a starting OT, RG, DE, and/or DT in FA, why would anyone think we’d use any of our top picks on any of these positions?

With the exception of DRobinson, REdwards & maybe MTurner,TD has gone the cheap route on many of our FA signings & draft day moves. which definitely cost us last yr. But his approach has set us up for a very bright future because we’ll be drowning in cap space for the foreseeable future.

John Waynesworld

March 6th, 2014
11:41 am

Good job, D3, can’t wait for the spreadsheets. I know you know, but your article has a misprint that says McClain is a UFA, when he is actually an RFA. Thankfully.

I agree with that Ken. It is the weakest link that causes the positions next to them to struggle. That is why McClure stuggled (and looked old) when the Falcons were cross-training everybody in 2012 after Dahl left. The RG position also probably made Clabo look worse than he was (which was already pretty bad) before he went to Miami.

Ken Strickland

March 6th, 2014
1:36 pm

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2014/3/5/5473786/atlanta-falcons-free-agency-needs

CAGERS-Here’s an article that details our top 5 needs. See if you agree. Like me, the writer feels RG was is our biggest OL problem & need, not RT, LT or C. And we have yet another writer who feels LHolmes is definitely not a LT, but a decent RT with room to improve. With what Schrader showed to make the roster, another training camp & preseason, this time under OL coach MTice, should definitely put him in the RT mix.

JB Falcon

March 6th, 2014
1:46 pm

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
2:09 pm

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
2:23 pm

D3

on your last post you mention how much more you think the Birds should go offence line in the Draft. I tried to post but the Blog monster was awaiting my every move and would not let me

I must say this team is in need of a lot of help in both the O and D . What I realize is tho that we at least saw our Falcons get a winning Season or a playoff spot when the O line was at least decent .

So I conclude . Fix the O line first in the draft and let us try to fix the D in FA’s . The Team must get back to where they were first before they can think about getting better . And to me that starts with the O line. The D has always sucked .But they did get to the Playoffs and winning seasons with a good to fair O line . Now they don’t even have that

JB Falcon

March 6th, 2014
2:32 pm

BM, here’s some more info on Bennett. Very interesting.

Michael Bennett, Defensive End (Age: 28, Seasons: 5): His 9.0 sacks in 2012 topped all Tampa Bay defenders, but translated to nothing more than a one-year, $5 million “prove it” deal with the Seattle Seahawks. So Bennett went out and turned heads once again, amassing 8.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss and a career-high 26 quarterback hits en route to a Vince Lombardi Trophy. Durable, versatile and highly productive.

SG

March 6th, 2014
2:36 pm

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
2:45 pm

JB

I like what I here about him and he probably would not be a steal but the Birds would not have to put up the Farm for him ether .

JB Falcon

March 6th, 2014
3:00 pm

SG, your 2:36 link also has a pretty good interview with TD.

As far as Osi goes, he’s set to make $4 mil when Seattle paid $5 mil to get one more sack. I think Osi got 7.5 and Bennett, the guy Birdman referred to at 2:09, had 8.5 sacks. Go figure.

There is a deep market of defensive ends this offseason; Umenyiora wouldn’t crack our top 10.
(from your link)

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
3:03 pm

SG

I liked what Dum mitroff had to say . Looks to me like the Birds are looking at the O line for there No 1 pick . I am Glad to here it …

Now with the money that man makes why can;t he do something with his hair . Instead of it looking like he stuck his finger in a light socket

Coop

March 6th, 2014
3:04 pm

D3 – Thanks for th thread. As always, thnks for what you do.

Not a Snelling hater, but not tore up to see him go. He did ply with guts and heart, bt I tol JJ once, so would I. doesn’t mean I should be on the field. Snelling has nothing to han his head about. ood career. Wish him the best in life after NFL.

As for the other FAs we seemed to be ready to let walk, eh… I’m ok. Wouldn’t mind keeping Coffman as the #2 TE, but I’ll take a 5th or 6th rounder.

Peters is fair at best. He might be great with a proper NT next to him. If they bring Babs back and those 3 are your starters… sigh… ok…. deep breath…

Ok Cage, I’m telling you right now and you can take this to the bnk… IF Babs and Peters are your startersat DT, do NOT expect ANY improvement on D. NONE! ZERO!

The Falcons absoutley MUST upgrade their interior pass rush and run stuffing or the D CANNOT improve.

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
3:09 pm

You know Bennett and Osi might just be a good fit.

paddy o

March 6th, 2014
3:20 pm

would anyone here sign Champ Bailey to pay S? He looked a bit slow in the SB.

paddy o

March 6th, 2014
3:22 pm

I might ask would the play of the C, RG and RT affect the LG? Konz got mauled all year -which goes back to that problematic upper body weakness (which may impact Clowney – he may be a beast as a LB with that speed).

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
3:25 pm

Coop I agree .
But not in the first round of the draft maybe the latter rounds and Free agents . Note my 2.23 post . A lot of holes to fill my friend .

And thanks for what you do brother

paddy o

March 6th, 2014
3:26 pm

I’m liking Bennett – sounds like a sleeper. I’m hoping we draft LT (any of the 3) and LG (Jackson). FA: big butt DT and S; how about McFadden as RB? cheap with some upside?

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
3:27 pm

paddy o

In one word .. NO !!!! To Baily

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
3:29 pm

How did Mcfadden (YARDS ) do this last season and what is his age

Coop

March 6th, 2014
3:32 pm

Birdman – Thanks and concur. Fix the OL through draft and DL through FA. I want DL that have proven it. Not sure if he signed yet, but Linval Joseph at DT ouldbe an upgrade.

JB Falcon

March 6th, 2014
3:33 pm

Here’s a good place to find your free agent’s worth. Bennett is an “A” = $6mil+ avg.
http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/freeagency/?page=1&year=2014&type=-1

JB Falcon

March 6th, 2014
3:36 pm

Notice, Hawley is the first Falcon on the list, is a “B”.

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
3:41 pm

JB

good read . You can take Grimes off of there he has signed a four year deal with Flipper

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
3:43 pm

Is he worthy of a B ? JB

JB Falcon

March 6th, 2014
3:59 pm

BM. “I” think he is. Him and Peters were the only two B’s. I think there were two C’s and the rest were D’s , = minimum salary.
No wonder TD is not jumping at the bit to resign most of them. Let ‘em test the waters.

Cedric

March 6th, 2014
4:08 pm

I’m not sold on Michael Johnson either …. I honestly will be kind of disappointed if we take a OT with our first pick …. and say that because Defense wins championships and I dont think Osi or Beirman can give us the pass rush we need … We can not continue to try and cut corners we are in a bad spot when your defense is last in anything in the NFL …. I thought Holmes came along ok he had some rough games but last year our whole organization should feel the same about a rough year period …. Yes we need to get better on our Oline so pick up a Tackle in FA and draft a OG in the 4th ….

Arno

March 6th, 2014
4:11 pm

If we use FA primarily to fix the d-line, then that will quiet the Clowney talk. Surely.

JB Falcon

March 6th, 2014
4:20 pm

Arno, I’d love to get Linval Joseph. He says he wants to stay in NY but once he gets some Southern cooking he’ll change his mind. That, plus NY doesn’t have a lot of cap $.

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
4:21 pm

the guy’s that think Clowney will be the Birds pick just do not understand !!! He is a need but not the biggest need and he will be gone within the first 5 picks. A pass rush will help this team but without O line help this team is out of every chance of getting back where they were

paddy o

March 6th, 2014
4:24 pm

I’m hoping Joseph. We’ll see.

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
4:24 pm

Dang JB

You are making me hungry just thinking about it .LOL. Lets see whats in the fridge . Oh boy some cold fried Chicken legs

Ken Strickland

March 6th, 2014
4:35 pm

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2014/3/6/5478386/falcons-asking-osi-umenyiora-to-take-a-pay-cut

Here’s a very interesting article that gives some incite into our potential FA plans at DE.

SG

March 6th, 2014
5:38 pm

JBF / Birdman

I think what that TD interview revealed was that the added help he’s getting in the FO may be paying off. Don’t you think he sounded more, dare I say, genuine? He didn’t appear to be arrogantly lip syncing a script. Agreed it would be great if they do go O-line first.

And you know Birdman, if do we line up intelligent FA / Draft acquisitions, I think we can learn to live w/ TD’s “do” can’t we? :-)

Birdman

March 6th, 2014
5:57 pm

Amen SG

I think so……Maybe a duck can change his feather’s ?

You know I stated way back that I think we will see some changes . To many jobs at stake . Like I said I just had a feeling !!

Now if that’s what we are seeing then maybe it will rub off on Smith also .?

Greg Mendel

March 6th, 2014
5:58 pm

As I’ve said before, I hope my grandchildren live to see a Falcons pass rush. I also hope my dog lives to see Matt Ryan have more than 1.5 seconds to throw the ball.

WR

March 6th, 2014
6:10 pm

Been awhile, but considering FA and the impending draft, my thoughts. As a Falcons fan, the Falcons need a LT, but like most analysis and most projections, they are just not done with the Sam Baker experience in my opinion. That being said, they also need a C, LG, and RT, was Lamar Holmes really all that bad at RT, considering he was a rookie. For further thought, not many of us was happy with the Falcons letting Clabo walk, but consider, Clabo’s best year(s) was with a nasty Harvey Dahl next to him. Now consider the revolving door at RG that a rookie had to deal with, then consider the lack of leadership in Konz that added to the mess. Might just be me but the circumstances makes it a little harder to judge the RT position. RG on the other hand doesn’t take much thought, it was horrible, LT was pretty much the same. The Falcons seem to believe in the injury plagued Baker, so they ought to at least go after a stud at RG while Hawley and Konz battle for the C position. Sorry but in my opinion the book can’t be closed on Holmes potential after just one season.