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2014 NFL Offseason: Atlanta Falcons

Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents

Atlanta Falcons (Last Year: 4-12)

Season Summary:
Excluding the Texans, there was no more disappointing team in the NFL this year than the Falcons. At least they can use injuries as an excuse. Five starters landed on injured reserve, and this does not include the likes of Roddy White, Steven Jackson, Asante Samuel and Sean Weatherspoon, who were out for a period of time with various maladies.

Offseason Moves:
  • Panthers sign S Thomas DeCoud
  • Falcons sign CB Josh Wilson
  • Falcons waive FB Bradie Ewing
  • Falcons sign KR Devin Hester
  • Falcons re-sign DT Peria Jerry
  • Falcons sign CB/KR Javier Arenas
  • Falcons sign G Jon Asamoah
  • Falcons cut TE Tony Gonzalez
  • Falcons sign NT Paul Soliai
  • Falcons cut S Thomas DeCoud
  • Falcons sign DE/DT Tyson Jackson
  • Falcons re-sign C Joe Hawley
  • Falcons re-sign DT Jonathan Babineaux
  • Falcons re-sign OT Mike Johnson
  • Falcons re-sign DT Corey Peters
  • Falcons announce retirement of RB Jason Snelling
  • Falcons cut G Garrett Reynolds
  • Falcons sign G Gabe Carimi
  • Falcons cut CB Asante Samuel
  • Falcons cut OLB Stephen Nicholas

    Team Needs:
    1. Two Offensive Tackles: The Falcons aren't going to give up on Sam Baker after one failed season of his 6-year, $41 million contract, but perhaps they should because he appears to be a sunk cost. The right tackle position could be upgraded if the Falcons don't believe in Mike Johnson's ability to stay healthy. Perhaps Tyson Clabo can be re-signed. I don't expect Atlanta to use the No. 6 overall pick on a tackle. Re-signed Mike Johnson

    2. Two Defensive Tackles: Jonathan Babineaux is a free agent, while Corey Peters is coming off an Achilles injury. The Falcons will probably spend a second-day selection on an interior defensive lineman. Signed Paul Soliai; re-signed Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters and Peria Jerry

    3. Right Guard: The Falcons need to repair their entire offensive line, and their most pressing need is perhaps at right guard. Luckily, there will be plenty of talented guard prospects to choose from at the beginning of Day 2. Signed Jon Asamoah and Gabe Carimi

    4. Defensive End: Osi Umenyiora did an OK job in replacing John Abraham, but Atlanta has to find someone on the other side to take Kroy Biermann's role. There will be tons of pass-rushing options available with the sixth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Signed Tyson Jackson

    5. Center: Todd McClure was really missed at center, but Joe Hawley showed some promise. He's a free agent. Re-signed Joe Hawley

    6. Tight End: Tony Gonzalez announced his retirement, which means there's a chance he'll be back next year. If not, Atlanta will obviously have to find someone to replace his production.

    7. Running Back: Steven Jackson was a disappointment in his first year with the Falcons. He was banged up, so they'll give him another chance. Still, a long-term solution at this position is needed.

    8. Safety: Thomas DeCoud has struggled lately, so Atlanta could think about upgrading him.

    9. Wide Receiver: Roddy White will turn 33 in November, so Atlanta will have to find a long-term solution across from Julio Jones sometime soon.

    10. Cornerback Depth: Asante Samuel was released, so the Falcons will need to do something about their cornerback depth. Signed Josh Wilson and Javier Arenas

    11. Linebacker Depth: The Falcons must get deeper at linebacker.

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2014 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Paul Soliai, DT, Dolphins. Age: 30.
      Signed with Falcons (5 years, $33 million)

      Paul Soliai is a big-time run-stuffer who can also get to the quarterback. He can play in either the 3-4 or 4-3, so teams that run multiple fronts will love his versatility.

    2. Tyson Jackson, DE/DT, Chiefs. Age: 28.
      Signed with Falcons (5 years, $25 million)

      Tyson Jackson has turned his career around with Andy Reid. He still doesn't offer anything as a pass-rusher, but he put the clamps on the run rather well in 2013.

    3. Jon Asamoah, G, Chiefs. Age: 26.
      Signed with Falcons

      Jon Asamoah was benched in the second half of the season, but he had actually blocked rather well when he was in the lineup. His replacement, Geoff Schwartz, was just better.

    4. Devin Hester, KR, Bears. Age: 31.
      Signed with Falcons (3 years)

      The greatest return specialist in NFL history, Devin Hester proved that he's still dangerous by taking back a punt for a touchdown in 2013. He'll be 32 in November though, so it remains to be seen how much longer he'll be effective.

    5. Josh Wilson, CB, Redskins. Age: 30.
      Signed with Falcons

      Josh Wilson is one of the few Redskin defenders who didn't play terribly this past season. He's a mediocre starting cornerback.

    6. Javier Arenas, CB/KR, Cardinals. Age: 26. -- Signed with Falcons (1 year)
    7. Gabe Carimi, G, Buccaneers. Age: 26. -- Signed with Falcons

    Atlanta Falcons Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Jonathan Babineaux, DT, Falcons. Age: 32.
      Re-signed with Falcons (3 years)

      Jonathan Babineaux has been a force in terms of stuffing the run and getting to the quarterback, but he just turned 32, so his best days are behind him.

    2. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons. Age: 38.
      Tony Gonzalez, now 38, signed on with CBS to be one of their analysts, but there's a good chance he'll come out of retirement to play for a contender late in the year (Cris Carter did this with the Dolphins back in 2002). Despite his age, Gonzalez is still a threat over the middle and a strong end-zone target.

    3. Joe Hawley, C, Falcons. Age: 25.
      Re-signed with Falcons (3 years)

      Joe Hawley didn't start the first half of the 2013 season, but he took over the job in November and never looked back. He was solid, but unspectacular. Still, he's only 25, so there's plenty of room for improvement.

    4. Robert McClain (RFA), CB, Falcons. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Falcons (1 year, $1.43 million)

      Robert McClain is a solid nickel corner. He'll only be 26 in July.

    5. Asante Samuel, CB, Falcons. Age: 33.
      Asante Samuel was very limited in 2013 because of a lingering thigh injury. Perhaps he'll play better when healthy next season, but his best days are obviously behind him; he turned 33 in January.

    6. Mike Johnson, OT, Falcons. Age: 27.
      Re-signed with Falcons (1 year)

      Mike Johnson was set to be the starting right tackle this season, but he was lost for the year in training camp with a fractured fibula.

    7. Cory Peters, DT, Falcons. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Falcons
    8. Thomas DeCoud, S, Falcons. Age: 29. -- Signed with Panthers (2 years)
    9. Peria Jerry, DT, Falcons. Age: 30. -- Re-signed with Falcons
    10. Stephen Nicholas, OLB, Falcons. Age: 31.
    11. Garrett Reynolds, G, Falcons. Age: 27.
    12. Bradie Ewing, FB, Falcons. Age: 24.
    13. Chase Coffman, TE, Falcons. Age: 27.
    14. Dominique Franks, CB, Falcons. Age: 26.

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

    NFL Free Agents - April 19

    2015 NFL Mock Draft - April 17

    2014 NFL Mock Draft - April 16

    Fantasy Football Rankings - March 28

    2014 NBA Mock Draft - March 26

    NFL Picks - Feb. 2

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