Atlanta made a big splash with Turner in Free Agency in 2008
In the weeks leading up to free agency, Falcons fans (including us) worked ourselves into a bit of a frenzy full of expectations as we awaited March 13th like kids on Christmas Eve. What presents would we unwrap on our free agent holiday? Would Thomas Dimitroff and Arthur Blank give us the ultimate present of a fierce pass rushing defensive end in Mario Williams, or someone to protect our franchise QB in the form of a guard like Carl Nicks? Carl Nicks is off the table as the Bucs signed him for a boat load of cash. The Falcons also don't appear to be players in the race to make Mario Williams the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. In fact, the Falcons have been vewy vewy quiet. So which wabbits are they hunting?
Since free agency has started, the Falcons have re-signed #3 receiver Harry Douglas and they have re-signed back-up QB Chris Redman. Not exactly Super Bowl inspiring moves but I do actually like both moves. The number of players that the Falcons have been linked with has been minimal. They were said to be among the leaders to sign defensive lineman Kendall Langford. They've also been said to be looking at re-upping John Abraham (Matt speculated on this Monday). My guess is that Abraham has not found the free agent market to be what he thought it would be as only the Titans have been mentioned as suitors.
The fans hoped for the Falcons to be one of the more aggressive teams out there and to help set the market. Let's be honest for a minute. Laurent Robinson signed for five years and $32.5 million. The Cowboys made their splash by signing Brandon Carr to a deal worth around $10 million per year. The Falcons are playing free agency the boring....but smart way. Do you really want a contract like those on your hands for players of that quality? The Falcons are letting the market set and seeing what values will be available. Is that the best way to make their moves? Only time will tell.
It's obvious that the Falcons are pretty happy with their core players. Could it be that a lot of the blame for last season is being placed firmly at the feet of Mike Mularkey and Brian Van Gorder? Absolutely. How aggressive the Falcons are in the rest of free agency with their limited cap space (and also with making additional cap space by cutting dead weight or re-structuring contracts) will show us just how confident the Falcons brass is with their current pieces. After the dust settles, who is left that you would like to see the Falcons go after? ESPN's John Clayton tweeted out earlier today that there are still 381 remaining free agents. It looks like this will be a marathon and not a sprint for the Falcons.