Lets call this a "Big Spender" edition. I was trying to wait until Monday, but there is far too much news being reported during the NFL Combine. The biggest question going into the off season was what is going to happen to all of our big name free agents? Realistically, players like Brent Grimes, John Abraham and Curtis Lofton could be odd fits for the new Nolan defense.
We finally have our answer.
This man is about to get much some much deserved cash.
After many people, or at least myself, questioned whether or not Brent Grimes has the size and strength to play more physical, press coverage, the Falcons have other plans. The AJC reported/guessed a few days ago the Falcons "could" apply the franchise tag on Grimes.
Then Thomas Dimitroff expressed confidence in locking up the undersized corner.
We’re not wasting any time with our discussions. We feel like we can come to a good conclusion to this negotiation.
That seems to be the strongest statement Dimitroff has made about any of their upcoming free agents. But wait... similar to Grimes' hops, there is still more. The National Football Post reported Grimes will not be leaving Atlanta.
Cornerback-needy teams shouldn’t get too set on the notion of landing Brent Grimes. The Falcons have every intention of making sure he goes nowhere, and are likely to do whatever is necessary (read: franchise tag) to make that happen.
Adding to this was the report by Adam Schefter that Grimes would be receiving the franchise tag if not signed long term. I think that makes it pretty clear that as far as this year is concerned, Grimes will be staying in Atlanta.
While everyone giggles when Joe Flacco asks for elite quarterback money (he he), our own quarterback Matt Ryan will potentially soon be getting elite money. According to the occasionally correct reporting by Jason LaCanfora, Atlanta will being contract negotiations for a long term contract with our franchise quarterback sometime soon.
This makes a lot of sense. Quarterback contracts have been getting excessively bigger every off season, and Ryan is still improving. Atlanta can sign Ryan long term before he fully develops and quarterbacks start receiving $20-$25 million a year. Rotoworld says "Ryan's numbers have nowhere to go but up in 2012." It would also be good to not have to deal with the headache of negotiating with a quarterback before they hit free agency, with the potential of a franchise tag hanging up your entire organization (see: the Saints, and their inability to sign anyone while trying to come to an agreement with Drew Brees).
What about John Abraham? Abe rightly compared himself to some of the top defensive ends in the league, noting that they made $12 million or more per year. Now the AJC is reporting he asked for $12 million plus.
Of course, the AJC reported that just after his sister (on twitter) said Abraham never asked for $12 million, but was only throwing out some numbers, and he is categorically not asking for that price. The interview Abe gave to 790 The Zone seems to be open to interpretation, but it is clear he wants to get paid. His agent said this weekend there will be "do or die" negotiations, but it is clear that Abraham is not getting the franchise tag or $12 million a year.