Falcons’ fans: Please, enough with cries for Mario Williams

Sorry, folks: Mario Williams is not walking through that door. (AP photo)

Mario Williams is not walking through that door. (AP photo)

Reality check request: Can we please stop the Mario Williams campaign in Atlanta?

NFL free agency officially opens Tuesday at 4 p.m., and you will be amazed by how many deals get completed by 4:01 p.m., considering teams haven’t even been allowed to negotiate. (Sarcasm.)

Yes, the Falcons will be active. Teams don’t try to create salary cap space unless they’re planning to do something, and the Falcons already have restructured Dunta Robinson’s contract. According to the latest figures, the Falcons’ 2012 payroll is at $116,002,840, which is only $5,723,709 under the cap. (This assumes cornerback Brent Grimes signs a $10.6 million one-year tender.)

Let’s make this as clear as possible: There is not nearly enough money for the Falcons to sign Williams, Houston’s defensive end, unless they gut the roster and sign several replacements for the minimum straight out of Fred Sanford’s front yard.

Sorry to kill the sports talk radio buzz (and hopefully unclog the inbox of my email). But Williams is expected to use Julius Peppers’ six-year, $84 million contract as a starting point. That’s a $14 million annual average and cap hit. Do the math. I just don’t see any way general manager Thomas Dimitroff would be willing to do that, especially given the other holes the team needs to fill.

If I’m wrong, I shall accept the appropriate flogging from readers.

I do expect the Falcons to create some more cap space, possibly by cutting and/or trading a veteran or two who currently are under contract.  But this is a team that needs players on both offensive and defensive lines, as well as in the secondary.

Here’s an updated wish list of potential signees (post signings and franchise tags):

Carl Nicks, guard, New Orleans: He’s considered one of the better interior offensive linemen in football and has a nasty streak, which the Falcons needs. Weakening the Saints is an added bonus. One problem: Nicks wants to be the highest paid guard in the NFL, which means exceeding Logan Mankins’ six-year, $51 million deal ($20 million signing bonus).

Scott Wells, center, Green Bay: He’s a Pro Bowler and has been a starter since 2006. Green Bay may not be able to re-sign him for cap reasons, and the the concern of overcommitting to a player who recently turned 31. But Wells would be an outstanding replacement for Todd McClure (35, still unsigned) and would weaken the Packers. He’s looking for about $7 million annually.

— Kendall Langford, defensive end, Miami: He’s known for being a strong run defender. Also plays in the 3-4, which could help his cause if he Falcons switch to a hybrid front. Langford played for new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan with the Dolphins. His 2011 salary was relatively modest: $1.4 million.

– Nick Hardwick, center, San Diego: A good backup plan if the Falcons can’t get Wells. He’s 30 (turns 31 in September) and has started 108 games. According to Stats LLC (via Pro Football Weekly), he didn’t allow a sack last season and was called for only one penalty. Last year’s base salary: $3.675 million ($4.508 million cap hit after signing bonus).

– Mark Anderson, defensive end, New England: A pass-rush specialist. He had 10 sacks in the regular season and 2½ in the playoffs. The Patriots have had talks with Anderson, 29, but so far have been unable to re-sign him.

There’s a far more realistic list of candidates than Mario Williams.

By Jeff Schultz

155 comments Add your comment

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

March 12th, 2012
8:34 pm

I need man love desperately!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clayton Nedza

March 12th, 2012
8:36 pm

where there is smoke, there is fire. The same thing happened with Ray Edwards last season in mid April and when free agency started, we signed him. We know that Thomas Dimitroff is extremely aggressive and Mario fits the scheme in Atlanta perfectly. Mike Nolan is going to run a 4-3 but occasionally play a 3-4. Mario williams is a perfect 4-3 defensive end a perfect 3-4 OLB. I am hoping that we will actually bring him in. We will know by 1 pm tomorrow if the falcons are going to go after him. If we sign Brent Grimes to long term deal, cut baker and mughelli, and potentially restructure matt ryans contract is a given. Even though I doubt we will get Matt Ryan’s contract restructured. Lets all say our prayers tonight that Thomas dimitroff and Aurthur Blank bring their balls and wallet to bid day.

GDawg

March 12th, 2012
9:52 pm

Quit your wishing and hoping he is going to the Bears. Bank on it. TD better do something great in free agency. We should have went for Peppers when he was a FA and we should have not gave up on Johnson and settled for Edwards.

Wabe

March 12th, 2012
10:02 pm

For what it’s worth, John Clayton is reporting that the Falcons and Seahawks are frontrunners to acquire Mario Williams.

ATM

March 12th, 2012
10:05 pm

Eric Winston is hitting the market, I say we take a run at him to sure up the OL. Not sure how much he wants but one of the best tackles in the game

Z-ro

March 12th, 2012
10:38 pm

Shultz you may as well be a weatherman…all those free agents may WANT a particular salary but that doesnt mean their gonna get it!! when the dust settles im sure TD will have made some significant additions1 OAN: its time for Micheal Turtle to go try getting a 3rd rounder for him!

JSS

March 12th, 2012
11:27 pm

jay
March 12th, 2012
4:41 pm
“@JSS, hate hate hate, like ppl give a dang what your opinion is. You’ve written more is this blog than S(c)hultz.”
Huh?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss2hULhXf04&feature=related
Well, we know you can’t count words or paragraphs… And that “hate” thing, check a dictionary and get a clue….

Sausage King of Chicago

March 12th, 2012
11:58 pm

I think it stinks what we’re doing to Curtis Lofton. He is a standup guy, and his treatment diminishes the Falcons front office in my eyes.

[...] That little nugget comes from Pro Football Talk and it refers to the exact financial number that the Falcons are sitting at in relation to the 2012 salary cap. Jeff Schultz confirmed that number in his latest article for the AJC and just for good measure, he decided to throw salt in everyone’s eyes and kick us down a flight of stairs by also writing: [...]

rafael

March 13th, 2012
12:57 am

Let me get this straight… I didn’t know that LIBERTY CHEAPIA now owns the Falcons!!!

As long as I can remember, the Falcons NEED a pass-rush. The Falcons have not had a REAL pass-rush for years.

Ok, so let’s go on the “CHEAP” like the Braves and get 2nd-tier “AFFORDABLE” free agents. ANOTHER EARLY exit in the playoffs for the Falcons.

Instead of “ponying up” and spending Home Depot’s money on game-changing star NFL free-agents, let’s go “on the cheap” like the Braves and “wonder” why our continued playoff failures.

Arthur, are you on Liberty Cheapia’s Board of Directors???!!!

Columbus

March 13th, 2012
1:00 am

Corners do not have to be great when you have a pass rush. if you dont have a pass rush corners have to be great. Even with great corners and the Falcons have one good one, good and great QB’S will pick them apart with time. A pass rusher is the best defense. QB’S cont pick them apart, make them rush throws and dont allow them to check down and find an open guy and cause sacks and INT’S. By using that logic, if the money can be worked out, get a GREAT pass rush instead of a good or great cornet if you can. if the Falcons can, I say get Morris if possible and forget Grimes, or Edwards and/or Abraham. OL and DL baby. That is the Falcons weaknesses. Fix the lines and the Falcons can compete with anybody. Fail to fix them and Falcoms cannot complete with the top 8 teams in the NFL.

At least they got beat by the eventual super bowl winners the last 2 years.

Fix the lines and you fix the Falcons….It does not get any easier. Grimes is valuable BUT is he more important the the OL and DL? If you dont fix the D-line, he is. Fix it and he isnt.

Columbus

March 13th, 2012
1:09 am

Correction(forget correcting all the typos!)

Meant Mario, not Morris.

So I am assuming Schultz meant some type of physical, not verbal flogging? Paint balls? Something similar to Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore taking batting cage balls off his chest? Or would he prefer a good old-fashioned whipping? We can come up with something that doesn’t break his sensitive skin cant we? Public cattail flogging? Vines? I am sure we can come up with something creative and appropriate.

Come on TD. Pull the trigger!

ClassicFalcons

March 13th, 2012
2:53 am

I think Jeff Shultz and also the beat Writer for the Falcons are wrong. My sources tell me, (& My sources are accurate). Mario Williams will be an Atlanta Falcon. Reported 7 Year, 105M contract. 35-41 Guaranteed. First and Second Years 11M and 12M respectively. I think he will sign in the next couple of days, unless Seattle or Chicago come with more upfront money and a better gurantee. Jeff Shultz is wack for this article and deserves to be FLOGGED NOW for giving BS information and not presenting it to the fans….

Falcons3350

March 13th, 2012
3:10 am

We need Turner. You guys are talking about giving away the ONE man who has carried us everywhere that we want to go. And as to the playoff losses, we lost because our o-line couldn’t give Turner have a second. We just signed Vince Manuwai (G) so they’re going to assume that he will be sufficient enough for the RG hole they need to fill. We need a TE in the draft, and Orson Charles is the BEST fit for they’re offense. They also need a LOLB and a CB. Franks and Owens will never start for the Falcons, and if they do, kiss any chance of stopping a quarterback goodbye. We could use a SS. Decoud is getting better SLOWLY but surely. Moore, as a shock to me, is injury prone, and doesn’t seem to have what it takes to be a starter. They need to help Darrin Walls get better, and put him in as the nickel. Mcclure shouldn’t be getting more than 2 mil in his contract. No one will give him any more than that, unless he randomly runs a 4′4 40, then the Raiders will snatch him up. And for the LOLB hole, as much as I’d love to see Williams kickin in Brees kneecaps, Manny Lawson or Jarrett Johnson would be great fits. Lawson has the speed that would fit well opposite of Weatherspoon, and Johnson is one of the most underrated LBs in the league, just because he plays opposite of Suggs and that guy who’s not even human. Most of you know him as Ray Lewis. Go falcons!! Please God re-sign Lofton. We could try and move Tatupu to the outside. Lofton is a one in a million player. Not many LBs mature as fast as he did, and become the OBVIOUS defensive leader. Don’t make the mistake that you will DEFINITELY regret. If Falcons don’t resign him, those vulture Buccanneers will, and that is the last man I want the Falcons to have to face twice a year.

TheAntiMe

March 13th, 2012
3:23 am

Why do the Falcons need Mario Williams? Isn’t he the guy who played Slater in Saved By The Bell?

marko

March 13th, 2012
5:33 am

Mark Anderson was an interesting name. I’m surprised the Pats haven’t locked him up already. Reading tea leaves the great Swami Marko, thinks Super Mario’s headed to New England. Of course there have been no preliminary negotiations. That’d be against the rules. It’s just that Mario has a thing for clam chowder.

DC Dirty Bird

March 13th, 2012
5:46 am

I can’t figure out exactly what JSS’s argument is. Is it that we don’t have enough cap space or that we should hope to sign him because he won’t want to sign with us. Until that guy signs with someone else, I’ll be hoping he signs with us. Regardless of our cap space, regardless of what people “know” he’s going to do. Its just like the draft, it may not be likely that the player you covet is going to slide down to your draft slot, but that doesn’t prevent hoping and being ready in case he does.

@Jeff Schultz – Can we get a piece of journalism that includes a modecum of analysis? As in, if we only have 5+ million in cap space given Grimes tag, how we couldn’t sign Williams without gutting the team. Or here’s something that fans truly want to know. If Grimes doesn’t sign his franchise tag tender, can we withdraw it and use that $10.3 million elsewhere? Or better yet, what is the likelihood that Ovie and/or Baker are cut to make room for a FA LT and/or DE?

Jimmy Crack

March 13th, 2012
7:07 am

“Jeff Shultz is wack…”

dmr

March 13th, 2012
7:48 am

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This Falcon team as constituted cannot win in the playoffs; and even if they could, they are certainly not Super Bowl contenders. Too soft up front on both sides of the line of scrimmage, an aging running back who is good but slow to the hole, and a secondary that is very suspect.

The Falcons have given Atlanta something many thought impossible. 4 consecutive winning seasons. I would like to see the Falcons take a step back to make giant leaps forward, instead of trying to put band-aids on bullet holes.

I love R. White and Turner. However, with what we gave up for Julio and considering Roddy and Turner’s ages, and the fact we gave away our entire draft, I believe this: Dump Abraham, the great Mughelli, Baker, P. Jerry, along with a few others. Trade Roddy and/or Turner to teams who have draft picks to spare, but are title contenders. You don’t think New England would love to have Roddy White on their team?

The Falcons have major holes to plug and are built for playoff and Super Bowl success. You can argue about getting rid of two productive players like White and Turner. But if we don’t build through the draft, we will be having this same conversation next year.

Steve-o

March 13th, 2012
9:04 am

I am completely disgusted by the Falcons allowing their best tackler, Lofton, to walk. Mike Nolan insists Curtis is not a 3 down player, yet they are supposedly replacing him with a guy who did not play at all last year due to injuries. In a supposed move to upgrade the defense, the Falcons have taken huge steps in the wrong direction. I see the secondary in even more dire straits as the Abraham only pass rush will soon be a thing of the past as well.

Fans will get to know the numbers on backs of the jerseys as the cameramen will be panning to our secondary while they try to chase down the other team’s receivers. My crystal ball sees a drop off this year to the tune of 7-9.

True Falcon Fan

March 13th, 2012
9:51 am

9:04 am —- the ole saying is “if nothing changes, everything remains the same” duh….Chew on that awhile.
Lofton – was a just good MLB, is this new guy better, we don’t know, is Akeem ready we don’t know, we will see, if you are a season ticket holder you have alternatives? I realize you are expressing your opinion and have that right!

Go Falcons

Falco Peregrino

March 13th, 2012
9:53 am

The fans have a right to express their desires, not to mention that even ESPN is picking that Mario will go to the Falcons because of Mckay’s salary “cap whiz” abilities. You should so blatently rip on fans like that jeff. Find something to report next time you write an article.

PMC

March 13th, 2012
9:54 am

JSS, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan have about the same arm strength at this point, neither one can throw a 20 yard out with any zip.

True Falcon Fan

March 13th, 2012
9:56 am

Ole crystal ball —- please tell us all who the next President of the USA will be?????
If you are still listening “Ole Crystal Ball” —— If nothing changes, everything will remain the same!!!!!!!!

D man

March 13th, 2012
9:58 am

We have to do something about the DE position and the 2 OL positions. If we do nothing, we are toast…

True Falcon Fan

March 13th, 2012
10:02 am

9:58 —- AMEN

jarvis

March 13th, 2012
10:14 am

Every other pundit in America disagrees with Jeff. He’s wrong.

Snake Doc

March 13th, 2012
10:14 am

Basically it boils down to – Do the Falcons have the NADS to go for broke and winning or are they like Sgt Schultz content to be mediocre and do just enough to keep the money flowing from a dis-interested fan base.

I say the Falcons don’t have the NADS to do whats required to become a stellar franchise – All they care about is a winning season and making the playoffs then getting bounced after one game.

Winners do whats necessary to win and the Fal-cant’s aren’t winners!

SawThat1nce

March 13th, 2012
10:48 am

Whatever happens, the Falcons #1 priority should be building a stronger OLine, that was their #1 weakness last season.
They need to improve their pass rush, that should help the 2nddary out, too.

SawThat1nce

March 13th, 2012
10:53 am

Ole crystal ball, after you tell True Falcon who the next president will be, please tell me what the winning numbers for MEGABALL are for tonight’s drawing, and the winning PowerBall numbers for tommorrow night.
Thankyou Ole crystal ball.

JSS

March 13th, 2012
11:19 am

PMC
March 13th, 2012
9:54 am
“JSS, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan have about the same arm strength at this point, neither one can throw a 20 yard out with any zip.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/post/peyton-manning-has-more-visits-brandon-stokley-says-hes-throwing-great/2012/03/13/gIQAajiT9R_blog.html

Read the whole thing…

JSS

March 13th, 2012
11:32 am

DC Dirty Bird
March 13th, 2012
5:46 am
“Is it that we don’t have enough cap space or that we should hope to sign him because he won’t want to sign with us.”

A whole lot of both… It is about choices and fit. When you have the point of having two men equally as capable of bringing pressure (Peppers and Williams), it is just a good choice. When they can pay you money (in relative terms) that you’re seeking, then it is a great choice! And if they don’t have to scuttle their roster to get the cap room to pay you, well you decide… It is liking seeing only the visage of Taj Mahal but if you never go and see the tremendous interior (what if did not exist), then it would be a mere shell…

joe white

March 13th, 2012
11:51 am

If we can get mario without spending all the money, get him if not fill the roster with good talent and we can roll from there.

PMC

March 13th, 2012
12:11 pm

JONESBORO SLIM

March 13th, 2012
12:47 pm

Falcons will get Mark Anderson from New England Pats….bet on it!

JONESBORO SLIM

March 13th, 2012
12:50 pm

Wanting Mario Williams is like asking Peyton Manning to stop by and talk to T.D. about a deal….

Barrett Hammer

March 13th, 2012
2:11 pm

So…John Clayton says Mario Williams will either go to Seattle or Atlanta…

Just saying..

March 13th, 2012
2:18 pm

Jeff-
-Is the $5M Falcons cap space needed to cover draft/free agent signings as well?
-Would like to hear your thoughts about keeping/cutting Turner. $8M is the first thought, then there’s the “one year before” rule…

Who Me?

March 13th, 2012
4:17 pm

It’s 4:15 on FA day and the Falcons are making a slew of signing announcements – NOT.

Falcons, Hawks, Braves – do they have to all suck at the same time?? has to be some immutable law of physics for it to happen to all teams in the same market at the same time….

Ackshun

March 13th, 2012
5:00 pm

We will get Mincey. He likes workign with Coach Smith and Atlanta loves Jaguars.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

March 13th, 2012
5:23 pm

Falcants fans have officially inherited the Saints brown paper bags…………

HA HA HA :)

Houdini

March 13th, 2012
7:55 pm

TD and Arthur Blank need to pull a rabbit out of their cracks and make a very serious attempt at signing Mario Williams. With Abraham and Lofton walking, and no word yet on Grimes….They’re basically telling our new defensive coordinator to do more then Van Gorder did, but only with less pieces. That’s a bunch of bull*censored for younger readers*. Quit being cheap, go get your guy and win some f’in playoff games already! Normalcy and mediocrity only gets your regular season wins. Argue with that and you argue with fact.

Disgusted

March 13th, 2012
8:55 pm

“I am completely disgusted by the Falcons allowing their best tackler, Lofton, to walk. Mike Nolan insists Curtis is not a 3 down player, yet they are supposedly replacing him with a guy who did not play at all last year due to injuries. In a supposed move to upgrade the defense, the Falcons have taken huge steps in the wrong direction. I see the secondary in even more dire straits as the Abraham only pass rush will soon be a thing of the past as well.”

Spot on Steve O, hey, we would have been just as well off with Van Gorder than this idiot Mike Nolan who seems to know nothing and has accomplished less than Benny the Broom man or Joey the Janitor over his career.

For sure he was a flop as a HC. And they trust this bum to put a D together.

The Falcants are a joke of a franchise getting worse then again, this is Atlanta so nothing good happens in sports around here.

Disgusted

March 13th, 2012
8:56 pm

Also not that Kotter goes out and pushes for an injured guard just because he had him at one time when he was good.

Good ole boy system, are we any better off than we were in the Rankin Smith days?

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

March 13th, 2012
10:17 pm

Sorry guys but 2007 will return in 2012………………….

There will be NO playoff wins with CHOKE behind center……………….

Sorry guys the “Replace Vick” project failed terribly………………

HA HA HA :)

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

March 13th, 2012
10:23 pm

Ole Artie boy was able to give Vick that biorkg 130 million dollar contract because he didn’t give Vick any talent to work with. He relied on Vick to take the entire team to the playoff and win in the playoffs.

Now because CHOKE is so worthless, even though Artie boy has loaded the roster with more talent than any Falcants team ever had, he has no more money to sign another free agent.

CHOKE is a liability and needs to be benched or cut. He is what is holding the team back………..

Sorry guys I know this hurts……………

Oh does anyone know what happened to the COWARD Mrs Charlie? He was last seen spouting about how elite CHOKE was, right up until he put up a big goose egg on the Giants………

Maybe he is still working triple overtime at Chuckie Cheese……………….

HA HA HA :)

78Dawg

March 14th, 2012
12:04 am

From what the Bucs did today and our situation I think the Falcons will be worse than last year.

78Dawg

March 14th, 2012
12:08 am

Get over it “CHOKE” your guy is a thug and is history. You are obviously a black Kool-Aid drinker, Or maybe you snort it.

Noble357

March 14th, 2012
7:15 am

TonyB… I agree with you about Grimes. Franchise tag, are the front office smoking crack or something?? He’s such a liability in the red zone it’s not even funny. Case in point, 5′9 corner on a 6′0 plus WR, advantage WR every day all day. What the should do if anyone as seen the cap numbers of the top 10 players on the team for this year, #1 being Matty Ice and in the top 5, Roddy White and “Bowling Ball” Turner is redo their deals for this years salary and MAKE SOME FREAKIN’ ROOM. How is it that 30 teams can figure that out except Atlanta. Haven’t the Falcon fans suffered enough of the “wait and see” attitude of the front office? How about an aggressive GM, to match the aggressive owner (remains to truly be seen). If you’re in a win now mode… don’t talk about it. BE ABOUT IT!!

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

March 14th, 2012
10:38 am

HA HA HA

Falcants are regretting spending all that money on a BUST known as CHOKE……

They have ran out of money to pay the free agents that are the rocks on the team………..

HA HA HA

CHOKE is so selfish and a LOSER :)

Look at Matthew Stafford reconstructing his contract so the team could resign their free agents…………

What a DUMB LOSER…..no wonder he is not smart enough to win a playoff game………..

HA HA HA :)