Atlanta Falcons New Free Agents in 2013
The Falcons have been a mainstay in the winner’s circle since Mike Smith came to town and drafted Matt Ryan. They finally won a playoff game last year and now are not off the hook, but can definitely build on that momentum. The team has a high-powered offense that they even somehow upgraded in the off-season. The defense needs a few tweaks, but it is more a of a bend, but don’t break type of defense. The Falcons own the NFC South now, but that division is coming up and they better be on point if they want to get back to the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl in 2013.
The Key to The New Greatest Show On Turf
Steven Jackson [RB] – Previously with STL
Personally, I’ve been saying and expecting a fire-powered offense from Atlanta since 2011, but that was a year too soon and I missed the Matt Ryan train to success in 2012. Luckily I bought into every other skill player on the Falcons in 2011 and 2012. Steven Jackson is an immediate upgrade from the plodder king, Michael Turner, and will give them an option on every down that can break tackles. Sure Jacquizz is a smaller version of Jackson, his time will come, but Jackson has some juice left to get the Falcons to the Super Bowl. Expect a show this year with Jackson getting his receptions back up to 45-50. I’m buying on Jackson finally, even with all the mileage. You just can’t beat a change of scenery for great players like this.
A Needed Pass Rusher
Osi Umenyiora [DE] – Previously with NYG
It seemed like Osi had wanted out of New York since they beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl and Michael Strahan retired. He whined a lot, but was still productive in spurts when he was healthy. Now he gets his wish and is out and on a team in need of a game changing pass rusher. If he can get it going then the defense will be able to hold up against the dominant teams in the NFC South.
Brian Banks [LB] – Previously in Prison for a False Rape Claim
This is a great story as Banks has finally found an NFL home and is looking to just make the team. It could turn into something more if he keeps up the hard work. He was given a scholarship to be a USC Trojan from Pete Carroll until he was expelled and sent to prison on false claims of rape for 5 years until the accuser admitted to making up everything. Banks has a lot to prove and it would be amazing if he even makes the team. Keep an eye for this guy, he could do big things in the NFL.
Antone Smith [RB]
Garrett Reynolds [G]
William Moore [SS]
Sam Baker [T]
Tony Gonzalez [TE]
Chris Hope [SS] – Status: FA
Mike Peterson [LB] – Status: FA
John Abraham [DE] – Status: FA
Todd McClure [C] – Status: Retired
Will Svitek [LT] – Status: Signed with NE
Lawrence Sidbury [DE] – Status: Signed with IND
Vance Walker [DT] – Status: Signed with OAK
Chris Owens [CB/KR] – Status: Signed with CLE
Luke McCown [QB] – Status: Signed with NO
Brent Grimes [CB] – Status: Signed with MIA
Dunta Robinson [CB] – Status: Signed with KC
Tyson Clabo [T] – Status: Signed with MIA
Michael Palmer [TE] – Status: Signed with NYG
So Atlanta wasn’t too busy in free agency, but they didn’t need to be. They couldn’t have been though, they didn’t have much cap room to work with and their priority now is to get Matt Ryan a contract extension which would free them of some cap and would allow them to add a veteran free agent if they wanted to closer to August. They added two key players and will look to add-on their momentum from 2012. Maybe they can finally bring a Super Bowl victory to Atlanta?