We have reached the free agency doldrums where very little happens (except for Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, and that whole Saints thing) in the NFL a week after the free agent races begin. Teams have made their plans already, either fixing an area of need with a top talent, re-signing their own players, or waiting out for the cheap free agents before going head first in the draft.
Watch me support anyone who is not Sam Baker.
Most top players have long been signed, either Mario Williams, Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks, Cortland Finnegan, etc., have long been gobbled up by teams willing to dish out top dollar for top players. We are at the far less interesting point in free agency where we see players signed like Early Doucet, Matt Flynn, Aaron Ross, Deion Branch and other generally yawn worthy players who are expected to have a limited impact next season.
With demand down, it is now a buyers league. While I do not expect Curtis Lofton to come back to Atlanta, we could plug in a few players still available who would have cap friendly contracts.
Left Tackle. With Atlanta apparently going into next season with Sam "Turnstile" Baker at left tackle, the Falcons should try to improve the depth and competition for the time when Baker gets injured, becomes ineffective (game 1?) or both. Still available is Marcus McNeill, who claimed he was visiting with Atlanta, and Demetrius Bell. Both would be nice stop-gaps as they both have questionable injury history, but so does Baker. The difference is both these tackles can block. Bell would be a nice addition after playing in a zone blocking scheme in Buffalo, and playing very well in that scheme. Anthony Collins is still available and had some good play in spot duty for the Bengals.
Defensive End. While Atlanta did sign John Abraham last week, there are a few "quality" pass rushers still on the market, specifically Matt Roth and Andre Carter. Roth came in with a Ray Edwards-esque 3.5 sacks last year, but Carter put up 10 sacks in only 14 games in New England. Roth would obviously be cheaper, but could be subbed in a rotational player and has played linebacker as well, which could help Mike Nolan with some 3-4 fronts. Carter is on the wrong side of 30 before having a breakout year for the Patriots.
Running Back. I am not sure where Atlanta sees running back as far as needs go, but there are a few backs available. Justin Forsett has limited mileage on him and would sign for minimum money. He is rather well rounded, but had a poor season playing behind Marshawn Lynch and Seattle's poor run blocking offensive line. Jacob Hester would not be a poor addition, but would likely serve in a Jason Snelling type role.
Tight End. I am a fan of Jacob Tamme, who has been the #2 tight end in Indianapolis since a rookie, and could serve very well in the same fashion in Atlanta. When Dallas Clark went down in 2010, he put up over 600 yards and would substantially improve our tight end depth. On that note, Dallas Clark is still available, but it would be nice to add some younger players to the offense.
Any other free agents you would like to see come to Atlanta? Or which of these players do you want to stay far away from the Falcons?
I would like to see us get another safety that could push Decoud. Not sure who it is but there are still a ton of safeties out on the market.
Jacob Tamme is good. Another guy out there is Leonard Pope.
Still a ton of unsigned OLinemen out there. Hopefully TD is waiting on the price to come down and then will pick up at least one.
What about a guy like Derrick Harvey (college at Florida) who has been a bust (8 sacks in 3 years with Jags, none last year with Broncos). Get him cheap, see if he can add anything to the pass rush.
Still wouldn't mind seeing Channing Crowder signed although that would give us two LBs who didn't play football last year.
@CFBZ Derrick Harvey got scooped up by a team always willing to give a high draft pick another shot, the Bengals. I wonder if Zimmer can get some of his college production out of Harvey.
@CFBZ Phew, you do not make it easy. For safety, there is OJ Atogwe and Jim Leonhard, and I suppose Reggie Smith. I think another safety would not necessarily push DeCoud, but would play the big nickel. I know Atlanta looked at the safety from Illinois... granted I don't know much about him, starting with his name, but Atlanta is at least looking at DBs.
Pope is an oddity to me. He is too large to be a fluid wide receiver and he is a poor blocker. Perhaps he has improved since his stint with the Cardinals, but I have been disappointed he has not met his potential.
Compared to Jamaal Anderson, Derrick Harvey is a great talent. He did not really get a shot in Denver last year, but he had a lot of time in Jacksonville to become a pass rusher. At this point I feel like he is an Everette Brown type talent, who is worth only as much as a camp flyer. Harvey is just another Florida pass rusher who failed to pan out in the NFL.
I think Crowder would be worth a shot at vet minimum... but I would not expect much out of him.