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TDWII� s Initial � Complete Off-Season Overhaul� Proposal v1


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As the 2007 season winds down, as Falcon fans, the idea of being able to change the face and fortunes of the Falcons is top of mind for any MB member. A couple of points:

1) This for all intents and purposes is the Falcons first off-season without Michael Vick. Remember, when all the major action of the last off-season was taking place, Vick was still the franchise centerpiece, even if he was on shaky ground.

2) With this said, the full effect of Vick s absence will be felt come season ticket renewal time. Given the Falcons first blackout in over 6 years, coupled with the embarrassment that was 2007& in order for the Falcons to make a splash, they need to do something BIG.

3) There really isn t an area of this team that is beyond reproach. As such, this off-season proposal does not try and fill all needs, but tries to take a realistic and fair attempt at making some significant changes.

4) From a salary cap standpoint, I do not know exact figures, so it s entirely possible that if you really take a close hard look at the numbers, all the moves may not fit/work.

That said, I m more than open to critique and enjoy the dialogue that ensues from such& conversation.

Cuts

Warrick Dunn A great Falcon, but one who can no longer be the centerpiece of the running game.

Rod Coleman injuries and drops in production in addition to escalating salaries toward the end of his original deal warrant this divorce.

Kynan Forney Never seemed to recover from his shoulder injury.

Byron Leftwich His arm might be NFL caliber, but his wind-up is more MLB.

Joe Horn A poor signing who absolutely had no impact whatsoever. A signing that would have never occurred post- Vick issues. In actuality, the Falcons need a #4 WR, but at the $$ Horn is getting, it can t be justified.

Wayne Gandy Was always a stop gap for the Falcons, but after ACL tear should be jettisoned.

Brian Finneran This is a shame but a slow WR coming off 2 ACL injuries?

Joey Harrington The worst thing to happen to Harrington as it relates to his Falcons future was that Chris Redman proved he could be a solid back-up. Once that happened, he became the less expensive more viable option.

Overall, I could have cut wider& some explanations are given below for players who might be widely viewed as playing their final games as Falcons who do not appear above.

Free Agent Defections

Demorrio Williams He simply does not have the role here he once did and will command more on the open market than we re willing to pay.

Dwayne Blakely It s tough to believe this, but do you realize only 5 Falcons on the active roster have longer tenure with the team? (Dunn, Crumpler, McClure, Forney, Brooking).

Chris Crocker I would actually try and keep him for one more year if possible. But I think he s actually improved his performance from last season which will lead some team to overpay and overcommit for him.

Re-Signs

Michael Boley; 6 years $35.5M; $12M SB - $20.5M guaranteed over first 3 years

Chris Redman; 2 years $2M; $700K SB

Free Agency

DT: Corey Williams (formerly with Green Bay) 6 4 313; 6 years $33.5M; $11M SB - $18.5M guaranteed over first 3 years

OT/OG: Stacy Andrews (formerly with Cincinnati) 6 7 342; 5 years $25.5M: $8M SB - $14.5M guaranteed over first 3 years

OLB: Keyaron Fox (formerly with Kansas City); 2 years $3.2M; $1M SB

CB: Brian Kelly (formerly with Tampa Bay); 1 year $1M

Trades

The Falcons trade DeAngelo Hall & 2008 3rd Round Selection to the Dallas Cowboys for Dallas two 1st Round Selections in the 2008 NFL Draft (approx. # s 23 & 31).

The Falcons trade 2008 1st Round Selection (#21 overall) & 2008 2nd Round Selection (#33 overall) to the Houston Texans for their 2008 1st Round Selection (#12 overall)

LINK - Reasoning behind DeAngelo Hall to Dallas

2008 NFL Draft

Day 1

1:3 Darren McFadden; RB Arkansas

At the end of the day, McFadden is the most talented player at this spot in the draft. With Warrick Dunn moving on and the belief that Jerious Norwood is more role player than feature back, the Falcons get their bellcow who they can lean on and establish pace on offense. While conventional wisdom would dictate that the Falcons address QB here, ultimately you simply can t pass in this type of talent. While I wouldn t classify McFadden as a once in a lifetime type talent, he s one of the better RB s to come into the pro ranks in recent years and instantly gives the Falcons a ground attack again. When you look at the 4 teams drafting below the Falcons, RB is not really a need for any other than potentially the Jets, but Thomas Jones probably is a much better player if Jake Long is blocking for him.

1:11 Brian Brohm; QB Louisville (see trade thread)

The trade of DeAngelo Hall makes this possible because they secure enough ammunition by acquiring Dallas s 2 first rounders to move up (at this point #21 & #31). WhatI think you ll see Petrino do is announce Brohm as the starter immediately. I get the sense that Petrino is a throw them into the fire type of coach. He knows Brohm and what he can do. Even though Louisville fell off the map this season, Brohm passed for over 4,000 yards and was, statistically speaking deadly. He also laid to rest some durability concerns making it through an entire season unscathed. But his knowledge of Petrino and his offense allows him to step right in and while he s sure to go through his growing pains, the combination of Darren McFadden and Brian Brohm allows the Falcons to put 2 stakes into the ground.

1:31 Round Phil Loadholt; OT - Oklahoma

In all honesty, if he declares, I do expect him to be gone by this point. Who knows, maybe he pulls a Marcus McNeil or Winston Justice and falls far past where many thought he would. And most draft pundits don t have him as a 1st round prospect yet. But my sneaking suspicion is that they will. Even under Dan Reeves, the Falcons never sought to bring in big mauler type O-Lineman, but those days are over. At 6 7 350, Loadholt fits that bill, but his athleticism is frightening. He was Colorado s Mr. Basketball runner up as a high school senior. His drawback is that he s got one year of major college football under his belt since he did a 2 year JUCO stint. But simply put they don t make many men Loadholt s size with his athleticism and the Falcons have sorely needed a LT they can build around since the better days of Bob Whitfield. In less than 1 season though, Loadholt has established himself as a major force to be reckoned with. His coming out party was his performance against highly touted DE prospect Calais Campbell where he rendered him useless. Since then, he s shown flashes of dominance. Loadholt s issue coming into the NFL will be consistency as it s something that s nagged at him a bit this year, but given the jump in competition level, it s not suprising. He ll likely experience a similar consistency swing in his rookie year, but his physical talents are too impressive to ignore.

** If Loadholt were gone, my secondary selection at this slot would be Chris Williams, OT Vanderbilt.

2nd round (approx. #45) Antoine Cason; CB Arizona

In trading DeAngelo, you have to draft his replacement. Cason has been a 4 year starter at Arizona and he was stellar this season although his draft stock seems to have taken a bit of a hit which allows him to drop to the beginning of Round 2. That said, his extensive experience starting should help in his transition to the NFL. In 45 career games, Cason totaled 15 INT s and 29 PBU s so his production was solid. He doesn t come in at the top end of the measurables bucket which probably contributes to his draft ceiling, but at the end of the day, he s a solid pick here and fills in the hole created by trading DeAngelo Hall.

Thus Completes Day 1 of the Falcons 2008 NFL Draft

Day 2

3rd Round: No selection

4th Round Tom Zbikowski; S Notre Dame

In recent years the Falcons have struggled to identify solid contributors at the safety position. In the last 3 years, Falcons safeties have intercepted a total of 8 passes (2 by Keion Carpenter). While Lawyer Milloy has provided a veteran and steadying presence in the secondary, his next interception will only be his third as a Falcon. Zbikowski is more of an in the box defender at the position as well, but he has shown a nose for the ball ability as well. His issue in the past has been getting sucked in and getting beat deep, which is a problem that has plagued the Falcons as an organization at the position. After a 2005 that saw his profile skyrocket, 2006 saw it come back down to earth as his weaknesses became exposed. In 2007, with Notre Dame s fall from grace, Zbikowski has fallen off many radar screens. But if he was overvalued in 2005, he s more than likely undervalued now and represents a guy with solid intangibles who could develop into a defensive leader down the road.

4th Round (Kerney Compensatory Pick) Jeremy Thompson; DE Wake Forest

Thompson struggled with injuries for a decent part of his career at Wake Forest, but started to emerge as a force for the Deamon Deacons in his senior year. I would suspect the Falcons would tender Chauncey Davis to secure him for another year. But depth at the DE positions has been a sore spot for the Falcons in recent years and it s no lock that Davis has any security beyond 2008. Considering he s not developed much in the way of pass rush, Thompson is a bit of a project but has nice measurables and the body type to potentially play both DE positions. His draft stock has really started to buzz however, so the possibility of him being available at this stage in the draft are decreasing quite a bit. We ll keep him here for now&

5th Round Matt Flynn; QB LSU

What you say???!!! Another QB??? Draft 2 QB s? Absolutely! Is any QB on the roster a great candidate to be a back-up QB? Leftwich? Harrington? Redman? Harrington & Lefwich make $3M/year and are only signed through 2008. They ll probably want to stay in the same pay bracket or at least same neighborhood. Redman? Happy to wear a uniform and carry a clipboard. Shockley? He s not a Petrino guy and plus, if he went to any other college than Georgia, people here wouldn t care about him. What has he really shown anyway?

But why draft a back-up when you have other needs? Well, why does Flynn have to be the back-up? Listen, after drafting Brohm, you hope that he becomes the franchise QB. But like many people say, there are no guarantees. Flynn is a great, great team player. This season, I think he s shown a lot of guts and skill. He could have played a lot of football at LSU had he not been stuck behind an eventual #1 overall pick. So now you develop a starter and a back-up and know that while draft status dictates that one is favored over the other you have 2 QB s you can develop and see what happens instead of being tied to one. Flynn probably is your 3rd QB in 2008 (behind 1 of 2007 QB s), but takes over primary back-up responsibilities in 2009 at a minimum.

**This is probably the pick that IMO is in limbo the most as far as direction. I think Petrino has made determinations on what kind of QB s Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich are. With Redman though, his spark from last week was a surprise and now you wonder if he is a viable back-up QB option. That said, I think you have to see what you have in Redman for the remainder of 2007 and see whether he can fill this role. If he shows that he can, the need to draft Flynn in this slot decreases dramatically.

6th Round Eddie Royal; WR Virginia Tech

The Falcons used to be known as the post-graduate program for student athletes at Virginia Tech. They seemingly had great success in drafting it s alumni. And then 2007 happened. Michael Vick turned out to be a dog fighter. DeAngelo Hall continued to be a loudmouth whose play didn t match his reputation. And Jimmy Williams turned out to be a bust. In Royal, the Falcons get a prospect who they can develop at WR, but also perhaps inject some life back into their punt return game. Current return man, Adam Jennings has been unspectacular at best on punt returns and he has a career total of 2 catches which seems to indicate a lack of development in that area of his game. Royal probably has to develop a lot to be an effective NFL WR which means that the probability that he actually does is low. But his return skills are what is going to make his NFL career a long or short one. He ll compete with Jennings for this spot in a training camp battle. However, the Falcons could wind up keeping both.

7th Round Brandon Coutu; K Georgia

Coutu had a subpar senior season which causes his slide. But the Falcons simply need to bring in a kicker who at least has a shot to be productive from 50+ yards. Like a putt that doesn t reach the cup, those never go in and Morten Andersen s range stopped at 47 yards. This is not a particularly strong year for kickers, but Coutu is the type of prospect who might simply have had an off year when it counted the most. His hamstring problems are worrisome though. At this slot in the draft, however, the risk is minimal. On no condition should he be awarded the job upon being drafted. The Falcons should most definitely be looking for kickers on the FA market or off the street. What s disturbing though is that is the option that has provided their last 2 options (Prater & Andersen). They need to go outside the box here.

7th Round (acquired for Allen Rossum) Jeff Cottam; TE Tennessee

Cottam was injured for the majority of 2007, but he has intriguing size potential (6 7 265) and was starting to come into his own as a receiver in 2006. He ll probably serve a year on the practice squad or find himself inactive on gamedays, but he s worth enough of a flyer to see if he can at least ascend to the 2nd TE role with the Falcons. With Alge Crumpler seemingly starting his decline, the Falcons would be best served to find alternatives at the position. But under Petrino, the TE will probably have less of a prominent role so they need not be considered stellar.

FAQ s

Why is Alge Crumpler still a member of the Falcons?

There is no doubt that Crumpler struggled with his health and his reduced role in Coach Petrino s offense. But Crumpler struggled to return from multiple surgeries in the off-season and as such, did not have the ability to engross himself in Petrino s first off-seaosn program. While he may not return to his perennial Pro-Bowl form, an off-season away from the operating table and concentrated on the Falcons off-season program could help Crumpler bounce back to pre-injury form. He still is one of the respected leaders of this franchise and as such, still can fill a sizable role with the team.

You kept Brooking too?

This one I struggled with. Originally, my first impulse was to cut him. But with the drop-off in the draft pretty significant after Laurinitis at the ILB position and average options available via FA, I didn t think the Falcons could improve their situation much at this position if they did get rid of Brooking. While clearing salary cap looks to be a priority for the Falcons to accelerate the building process, under my plan, there appears to be enough activity to clear enough for the proposed actions explained above. He has declined quite a bit to the point where is can only be categorized as serviceable. Obviously, he s overpaid at this point in his career but he s the best option the Falcons have.

Why would Houston trade their pick with us?

Houston made some major strides this year. They ve gotten better play at the QB position than they ever have. If either could have stayed healthy in 2007, Matt Schaub-to-Andre Johnson would have been one of the NFL s most feared combos. Mario Williams and Amobi Okoye are turning into a force on the D-Line and Demeco Ryans is amongst the best young defensive players in the NFL. In short, they have a solid franchise direction. But they need to build on that foundation, and not having a 2nd round selection does not help that process. In acquiring one back from the Falcons for a move 11 spots down in the draft, they come out quite favorable on the draft value chart.

With 10 picks, you wind up spending only 1 on O-Line and 1 on D-Line? Explain!?

For one, signing Williams and Andrews adds much needed talent to these units. And spending a first round pick on Loadholt shows a commitment to protecting the QB. Don t forget that Doug Datish waits in the wings after spending the 2007 season on IR. While he won t ascend to a starters role next year, the hope is he can provide valuable depth in 2008 in the process of finding a permanent spot on the O-Line in 2009. In reality, I think the O-Line reconstruction project is much further along than we think at this point as it relates to planting . IMO, most of the seeds will have been planted an now young players like Blalock, Loadholt, Datish have to develop.

As for the D-Line, the same type of scenario exists. Players like Anderson & Lewis are ones that simply have to develop into their NFL games and same will hold true for Thompson. Prior to his knee injury, Lewis had really started to play at a high level. The hope is that he can return to form.

Why would Dallas trade for DeAngelo Hall?

See DeAngelo Hall trade thread linked above.

Do these deals represent good value for the teams involved?

I wanted to be realistic in what we could do with our assets. If I was going to work on a deal for DeAngelo Hall it had to have logical and reasonable benefits to both sides. If the Falcons were to move up in the draft, same conditions. You ll notice that the trade between the Falcons and Texas represents a 130 point advantage for the Texans using the traditional Draft Value Chart . The value of the DeAngelo Hall trade essentially nets out to the 13th overall pick in the draft which IMO is fair value and still leaves Dallas with 3 pick in the first 3 rounds.

In securing 2 of the Top 12 picks in the draft, I also considered where other teams who could be looking for QB s will be drafting. Baltimore, Kansas City and Carolina would be the three logical teams who would be oin the market in Round 1. While there might be some surprises, in recent years the surprises as far as drafting QB s have come in terms of which teams have not drafted one, rather than the ones that did. Matt Ryan seems to have emerged as the draft classes #1 QB with Brohm & Woodson battling for #2. Kansas City is the wild card here. I think Baltimore is a shoo-in to draft a QB (unless they were to pursue a FA option). But KC has Croyle and I wonder if they don t give him one more year. It s hit or miss quite frankly. But IMO, it will be necessary to get in front of Carolina to have a shot at not only one of the Top 3, but Brohm specifically.

Why all the movement to secure McFadden & Brohm? We could secure RB s & QB s Round 2 or later& ? WE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT X POSITION FIRST!!

I think at the #3 pick in the draft, I would not be upset with any of top prospect out there, whether it be Long, Dorsey or McFadden. Heck, there are other prospects out there that could be justified as well. If it turned out that way, I would not bemoan the ineffectiveness of our front office.

That said, with a high 1st rounder and 2 2nd round selections along with the ability (and seeming desire) to trade a very attractive commodity in DeAngelo Hall, the 2008 draft that can be very special for them. One that hopefully they look back to as the key turning point in the re-construction of this franchise.

With that said, a combination of Brohm & McFadden gives the Falcons a couple of things:

1) Two identifiable building blocks STAR POWER: McFadden & Brohm no matter what you think of them will be provided tons of pre-draft coverage. Those who follow the NFL will know who these two players are come draft day. Why is this important? When you hear people talk about the Falcons now, it s as if we have no chance of being competitive again until 2017 (exaggerated). This move is a statement move and one that shows that while the immediate future may still not look great, we could be relevant again sooner than your think.

2) Great young talent at 2 need positions: I know we have other needs than just QB & RB. You simply aren t going to fix them with the first two picks. A solid argument can be made for at least 5 positions to be addressed here. But McFadden could be Peterson-esque in terms of his impact. And Brohm s relationship and history with Petrino is already well documented and he was the #1 QB prospect in the nation coming into this season.

3) Explosiveness: Noone ever knows if even the highest of draft picks will be successful (Alex Smith anyone?). But McFadden and Brohm have prolific records and if they can translate that into the pros, the Falcons could find themselves having a Cleveland Browns type offensive revivial within 2 years.

4) Marketing: You hate to include this in the criteria, but in a town like Atlanta where the team needs to be marketed to sell tickets,it has to be. Having two young marketable talents to rebuild the image of the franchise around from Day 1 of their careers will not only help, but also protect the Falcons from being indebted to one personality/image.

5) Opportunity: There are very few drafts where a team gets to make a statement. The Falcons have been on record as saying they will be active this off-season. This is an opportunity to accelerate the re-building process by a year& maybe more. There are risks attached, but in the end, being able to put oneself in a position to have this type of impact in the draft is not a situation that happens very often. The Falcons are in a must act decisively situation. Rich McKay is as well& if next years Falcons show progress energy and excitement, then he ll be granted a reprieve. If we get a listless effort similar to what we saw in 2007 (both on the field and how the fans perceived the franchise), then McKay is gone.

Depth Chart**

This is designed to be a 53 man depth chart. However, only 50 players are accounted for here because I could foresse the Falcons dipping into the FA market after the end of the FA feeding frenzy to sign 2-3 players to 1 year deals (a la Lewis Sanders type players).

QB: Brohm/Redman/Flynn

RB: McFadden/Norwood/Snelling

FB: Mughelli/McIntyre

WR: White/Jenkins/Robinson/Jennings/Royal

TE: Crumpler/Milner/Cottam

OT: Loadholt/Weiner/Foster/Clabo (OG)

OG: Andrews/Blalock/Ojinnaka/Datish ©

C: McClure

DE: Abraham/Anderson/Davis/Thompson

DT: Williams/Babineaux/Lewis/Stanley

LB: Boley/Brooking/Nicholas/Fox/Wilkins/Taylor

CB: Cason/Houston/Irons/Kelly

S: Milloy/Stone/Williams/Zbikowski

K: Coutu

P: Koenen

LS: Schneck

There you have it& TDWII s first take at what is shaping up to be a very key off-season! Enjoy and have at it&

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Can the Falcons afford 3 1st rounders? I like it for the most part. Here is my spin. Send Dhall plus 3rd to Dallas for there 2 1st rounders. Send a 1st and 2nd to Cleveland for Anderson and a 4th(not sure about compensation this since it would take a 1st and 3rd to get Anderson once Cleve. gives him tender.)

That gives the Falcons a 1st, a 2nd, 3 in the 4th, a 5th, a 6th and 2 in the 7th. And a starter at QB from day one.

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Very well-thought and presented. My only criticism involves the Brohm pick.

If we trade Hall, our secondary will suffer greatly. The addition of Cason ( a good, but not very good CB prospect ) and Zibkowsky (sp) will not come close to covering the loss. Teams will be passing on us all day, and when we finally go into perpetual nickle, they will run us to death.......NO THANKS. I will not sacrifice our developing defense for a QB that may or may not pan out.

If we trade Hall (I am not saying that we should), we need to draft the best FS to cover some ground. Irons and Houston will suffice, if we have a coverage FS to support them. Kenny Phillips is that FS. He has the size and speed to handle any receiver. What sets him apart is that he is a true student of the game. He may not drop to the 11th pick, but if he does, he has to be the pick. Bob Sanders will not be allowed to leave Indy.

As far as QB, I would go to the Raiders and offer a pick for Andrew Walter. He could be the next D Anderson. He could also fail, but the same can be said about Brohm. Walter has gotten little respect on these boards, but he has the talent to run Petrino's offense. Don't take my word for it, ask McKay and Petrino....they made offers to Oakland, earlier this year, for Walter.

All in all, a very good off season plan. I just have a problem with trading Hall and leaving our secondary so vulnerable. Although we could find a good RB, I agree that McFadden would bring Mr Blank someone to market his team.

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I'm not sure I understand your trade for Anderson proposition...

If it only takes a 1st & 3rd to sign Anderson, if Cleveland did not match the offer sheet...why would we offer them a 1st, 2nd & 4th?

Perhaps I'm reading the offer incorrectly...

Once you get out of the Top 15, draft pick salaries don't hit too bad. But consider that the deal Brohm would sign in the #11 slot would probably not be as lucrative a deal as it would take to sign Anderson. Consider Schaub got a 6 year $48M deal without having had the season Anderson had (and still hasn't). Anderson will say no to anything under $10M.

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TheDirtyWordII (12/5/2007)
I'm not sure I understand your trade for Anderson proposition...

If it only takes a 1st & 3rd to sign Anderson, if Cleveland did not match the offer sheet...why would we offer them a 1st, 2nd & 4th?

Perhaps I'm reading the offer incorrectly...

Once you get out of the Top 15, draft pick salaries don't hit too bad. But consider that the deal Brohm would sign in the #11 slot would probably not be as lucrative a deal as it would take to sign Anderson. Consider Schaub got a 6 year $48M deal without having had the season Anderson had (and still hasn't). Anderson will say no to anything under $10M.

Yah, just a communication break down. Since you sent off the 3rd already, the Falcons would give Cleve. a 1st and 2nd for Anderson and a 4th.

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If we trade Hall, our secondary will suffer greatly. The addition of Cason ( a good, but not very good CB prospect ) and Zibkowsky (sp) will not come close to covering the loss. Teams will be passing on us all day, and when we finally go into perpetual nickle, they will run us to death.......NO THANKS. I will not sacrifice our developing defense for a QB that may or may not pan out.

I recognize that our secondary will take a hit. And I don't know if you drilled into my rationale for the Hall deal via the link, but at the end of the day even if we don't trade him this off-season, do you want to pay to keep him around long-term? Cause it's going to cost a ton. IMO, you don't. Not many good teams are built around a foundation of a top paid CB. So you'll either take the hit in the secondary in 2008 or 2009. If you know you're going to take the hit., take it now. As for Cason, I think he is a similar type prospect to Houston in terms of pedigree. Houston has more speed, but Cason is a 4 year starter so I think he's more ready to start from Day 1. he'll no doubt take his rookie lumps.

If we trade Hall (I am not saying that we should), we need to draft the best FS to cover some ground. Irons and Houston will suffice, if we have a coverage FS to support them. Kenny Phillips is that FS. He has the size and speed to handle any receiver. What sets him apart is that he is a true student of the game. He may not drop to the 11th pick, but if he does, he has to be the pick. Bob Sanders will not be allowed to leave Indy.

I haven't seen much of Phillips. I hear he's quite good. I just don't know if this is the right time to acquire this pedigree of player at that position given the holes we have on this team. If we agree on the premise that the number of holes on the Falcons outnumbers or outweighs our ability to plug/fix them in one off-season., is this a holes that requires 2008 fixing? I don't think Zbikowski comes in and makes a difference his rookie year. The thinking from my POV is he can be developed to make a more discernable ipact in 2009 and beyond while playing a role in 2008. Also, Brian Kelly is a Cover 2 CB - my thinking in signing him is that he might be versatile enough to play some snaps at S and contribute in nickel and dime packages. He'd be small for the position, but again - he'd be more of a utility type player for us in the secondary. I think that could serve as a 1 year stop gap.

As far as QB, I would go to the Raiders and offer a pick for Andrew Walter. He could be the next D Anderson. He could also fail, but the same can be said about Brohm. Walter has gotten little respect on these boards, but he has the talent to run Petrino's offense. Don't take my word for it, ask McKay and Petrino....they made offers to Oakland, earlier this year, for Walter.

I don't know if there is anything to respect here. And I don't believe we made offers for Walter. We hoped that with 4 QB's, that Walter (who is their 4th QB) would be let go once they signed Russell and we could pick him up for nothing. But the Raiders held on if I remember correctly in hopes that someone would offer something for him, which didn't happen. But Derek Anderson showed glimpses of something in 2006. Even though Walter was hung out to dry in Oakland that same season, he never really showed an ability to rally taht team at all. He was overwhelmed. So he hasn't played effective ball in a while. And what's even more concerning is that even though Russell with soon be the man in Oakland, he hasn't even gotten a sniff of the field this year with Duante Culpepper and Josh McCown taking all the snaps. Anderson found a way onto the field and once there produced. If it's a low round pick, I wouldn't oppose taking a flier. In fact, maybe you trade the 5th (or lower) that I had pegged for Matt Flynn. But I wouldn't peg the future of the position to him by any stretch.

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squirreldawg (12/5/2007)
TheDirtyWordII (12/5/2007)
I'm not sure I understand your trade for Anderson proposition...

If it only takes a 1st & 3rd to sign Anderson, if Cleveland did not match the offer sheet...why would we offer them a 1st, 2nd & 4th?

Perhaps I'm reading the offer incorrectly...

Once you get out of the Top 15, draft pick salaries don't hit too bad. But consider that the deal Brohm would sign in the #11 slot would probably not be as lucrative a deal as it would take to sign Anderson. Consider Schaub got a 6 year $48M deal without having had the season Anderson had (and still hasn't). Anderson will say no to anything under $10M.

Yah, just a communication break down. Since you sent off the 3rd already, the Falcons would give Cleve. a 1st and 2nd for Anderson and a 4th.

Ohhh...so we'd get the 4th back. Got it. That's actually an intriguing option. I do worry about making the type of financial commitment to Anderson it would take to sign him. Although Jay Cutler contract looks like a 6 year $48M deal with $11M in guarantees. I'd be willing to consider depending upon what the market sets Anderson's contract price as...

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1. Kinda surprised you kept Milloy & you didn't address it in your FAQ. Does that mean you are satisfied with his play & think he'll be able to keep it up next year?

2. Same as #1 except with Jimmy Williams.

3. The way things are starting to shake out with many of the draft "experts", it's looking like we wouldn't have to make the Houston trade to get Brohm. Would be nice if it worked out that way & we'd still keep #33 as well.

4. Cason IS a very good CB prospect, and most likely will go in round 1. Cason has shutdown PAC-10 WR's for 4 seasons now, including the top WR's at USC that have been drafted early the last few years. He matches up with them 1 on 1 and does very well. Last year, before he decided to stay for his senior year, he was considered on par with Hall & Revis, the top 2 CB's in that draft.

5. Really, really hate to see Finn go, but I think it's a very good possibility.

6. Like the Z pick in the 4th round & Flynn in the 5th. Not so much the Thompson or Coutu picks. I like Rudolph Hardie from Howard or Eric Foster from Rutgers there in Thompson's place. I'm an UGA fan, but Coutu's injuries to his hamstrings really worry me. He's not the same kicker since. I really, really like Alexis Serna, but I've seen a couple sites now that put Taylor Mehlhaff as their #1 kicker prospect.

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1. Kinda surprised you kept Milloy & you didn't address it in your FAQ. Does that mean you are satisfied with his play & think he'll be able to keep it up next year?

Interestingly, I did leave him off my first draft overhaul (prior to publishing). But with Crocker a FA and my desire to sign him to nothing more than a 1 year deal...I think he gets more than that on the FA market. With Milloy having 1 year left on his deal, I felt that in order to maintain some continuity in the secondary (with Crocker and Hall out), it would be best served to keep him this last year. He plugs away - you don't hear him complain and he seems to have a leadership presence in the locker room. His level of play could be better, but he'll suffice one more year.

2. Same as #1 except with Jimmy Williams.

I have a theory about Jimmy Williams. I won't go into detail, but I wonder if not having DeAngelo Hall in the locker room might help him out...That said, he's cheap and he's still relatively young. he hasn't shown anything thus far, but perhaps he gets his head on straight knowing he has the insider track to the starters gig and gets serious. In fairness to him, I think his rookie year was a waste because Mora/Donatell insisted on playing him at CB. He's real close to being a bust, but I can't help but think he has one more shot.

3. The way things are starting to shake out with many of the draft "experts", it's looking like we wouldn't have to make the Houston trade to get Brohm. Would be nice if it worked out that way & we'd still keep #33 as well.

It's funny, I've heard this too, but I don't understand why. What I'm guessing you're saying is that we could hold tight with the Cleveland pick we acquired from Dallas, correct? I could very well be wrong, but I just see Brohm being selected in the 12-16 range.

4. Cason IS a very good CB prospect, and most likely will go in round 1. Cason has shutdown PAC-10 WR's for 4 seasons now, including the top WR's at USC that have been drafted early the last few years. He matches up with them 1 on 1 and does very well. Last year, before he decided to stay for his senior year, he was considered on par with Hall & Revis, the top 2 CB's in that draft.

My understanding was that he was a rung below those two, which was one of the reasons he stayed. That said, there appears to be a lot of talent at CB this year and if you get juniors like Ikegwuono declare, it could get even deeper. He could be gone for sure, but early to mid 2nd round is not out of the question. heck, Jimmy Williams was supposed to be a mid-1st rounder.

5. Really, really hate to see Finn go, but I think it's a very good possibility.

It's a shame. What's worse is that he's really bad at SportsTalk radio too...

6. Like the Z pick in the 4th round & Flynn in the 5th. Not so much the Thompson or Coutu picks. I like Rudolph Hardie from Howard or Eric Foster from Rutgers there in Thompson's place. I'm an UGA fan, but Coutu's injuries to his hamstrings really worry me. He's not the same kicker since. I really, really like Alexis Serna, but I've seen a couple sites now that put Taylor Mehlhaff as their #1 kicker prospect.

I wouldn't give up on Coutu because of his hamstrings yet. He's young and I wouldn't be surprised if mentally he let protecting his injuries get the better of him. At the 7th round, he's worth a flier and if you can get him an off-season strengthening and conditioning program that worked on flexibility, he might come back 100%. But I agree, his stock has dropped.

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very very detailed and well thought out. i dont agree with trading deangelo hall, but that does not change the fact that you clearly put a lot of effort and consideration into this for every pick, and i can respect and admire that. i know how hard and time consuming that can be.

i have to take issue with the cason pick at #45. do you really think he will fall that far? i believe he is ranked in the top 15-20 as far as senior players go, but even with junior declarations i still expect him to go in the late 1st-very early 2nd. i know its early, but thats just what i think at least. hed be a good addition, but it just stuck out to me as far as where i thought he would go.

overall, very nicely done. if we could add those impact offensive lineman id be very excited, but i just dont know if that is realistic. i hope so though.

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I actively dislike the idea of trading Hall and a 3rd for a pair for lower first round picks. Looking at the current status of our positioning as opposed to that of Dallas and Cleveland, we would be giving up Hall and the #65 for the #24 and #30. So, that's Hall for the #24 and a trade up from #65 to #30. In terms of pick value, it places Hall at roughly 1100 points or the #14 pick in the draft. If that's all we can get for one of the premiere corners in the NFL, I'd rather not make the deal.

Looking at it another way, we replace Hall with the third or fourth best corner in the draft at #24. So, we have downgraded in the secondary in exchange for a measly upgrade 35 spots from the start of round 3 to the bottom of round one. That's not a winning personnel move. If they offer a pair of lower first rounders for Hall with no further compensation, I could live with that. Asking for a pick back sours the deal.

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Tom Melton (12/5/2007)
very very detailed and well thought out. i dont agree with trading deangelo hall, but that does not change the fact that you clearly put a lot of effort and consideration into this for every pick, and i can respect and admire that. i know how hard and time consuming that can be.

i have to take issue with the cason pick at #45. do you really think he will fall that far? i believe he is ranked in the top 15-20 as far as senior players go, but even with junior declarations i still expect him to go in the late 1st-very early 2nd. i know its early, but thats just what i think at least. hed be a good addition, but it just stuck out to me as far as where i thought he would go.

overall, very nicely done. if we could add those impact offensive lineman id be very excited, but i just dont know if that is realistic. i hope so though.

I've gotten that feedback on Cason. I'd say it's 50-50 he'll be there, but honestly, I see a plethora of CB talent in that late first & second round.

Leodis McElvin

Tracy Porter

Charles Godfrey

Dejuan Tribble

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Terrell Thomas

...and this list doesn't include the Jenkins duo or Talib from Kansas who IMO are the top tier (Malcolm Jenkins and Talib are juniors). When you also think that Jack Ikegwuono from Wisconsin and Justin King from Penn State are also considering declaring, this is a very deep CB class. Maybe Cason deserves mention in the top tier, but he could also get lost in the shuffle.

I think this scenario represents the brass ring. Alot of things have to right for the Falcons for it to fall into place like this. But I'll take dreaming this way a little less than 5 months before the draft and 3 months away from free agency.

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jidady (12/5/2007)
I actively dislike the idea of trading Hall and a 3rd for a pair for lower first round picks. Looking at the current status of our positioning as opposed to that of Dallas and Cleveland, we would be giving up Hall and the #65 for the #24 and #30. So, that's Hall for the #24 and a trade up from #65 to #30. In terms of pick value, it places Hall at roughly 1100 points or the #14 pick in the draft. If that's all we can get for one of the premiere corners in the NFL, I'd rather not make the deal.

Looking at it another way, we replace Hall with the third or fourth best corner in the draft at #24. So, we have downgraded in the secondary in exchange for a measly upgrade 35 spots from the start of round 3 to the bottom of round one. That's not a winning personnel move. If they offer a pair of lower first rounders for Hall with no further compensation, I could live with that. Asking for a pick back sours the deal.

A couple of questions:

1) What are the chances DeAngelo re-signs with us prior to March 2009?

2) Why is the #14 pick in the draft (in terms of value) low for him? Just the 2 first round selections is equivalent to the value of the #9 pick. It seems like being able to sacrifice that value in the trade to make the deal extremely attractive to Dallas would be worth the investment.

Again, with ammunition in a market where there are many more teams looking to trade down than trade up - acquiring the picks to put us in the best position to lay down the next foundation of this franchise is what these manuveurs are all about.

One other thing. If the Falcons trade Hall, he's not going to want to go just anywhere. He'll probably have a select group of teams that he would consider waiving the potential of going out on the open market for. My guess is that Dallas would be on that list, but in turn that will give them more leverage in trade discussions.

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"A couple of questions:

1) What are the chances DeAngelo re-signs with us prior to March 2009?"

That's a question I can't answer with any certainty either way. At this point, only Hall and possibly his agent and the Falcons have a feel for that. If Hall forces our hand, the nature of the discussion changes. Until he does, the point stands that it's a bad deal for us.

"2) Why is the #14 pick in the draft (in terms of value) low for him? Just the 2 first round selections is equivalent to the value of the #9 pick."

But then we're giving back 260 points of value, which brings it back to the #14. Hall was picked #8 overall and he has, if anything, exceeded that ranking on the field. He's still very young and he's already established as one of the premier players at his position. We will not be able to replace him with a player of his level, meaning that we have to compensate elsewhere if we deal him. The option you theorize does not accomplish this imo for the reasons I explained earlier.

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jidady (12/5/2007)
"A couple of questions:

1) What are the chances DeAngelo re-signs with us prior to March 2009?"

That's a question I can't answer with any certainty either way. At this point, only Hall and possibly his agent and the Falcons have a feel for that. If Hall forces our hand, the nature of the discussion changes. Until he does, the point stands that it's a bad deal for us.

"2) Why is the #14 pick in the draft (in terms of value) low for him? Just the 2 first round selections is equivalent to the value of the #9 pick."

But then we're giving back 260 points of value, which brings it back to the #14. Hall was picked #8 overall and he has, if anything, exceeded that ranking on the field. He's still very young and he's already established as one of the premier players at his position. We will not be able to replace him with a player of his level, meaning that we have to compensate elsewhere if we deal him. The option you theorize does not accomplish this imo for the reasons I explained earlier.

I think it's telling that the Falcons have begun long term contract negotiations with Boley even though they can RFA high tender him for another year, but there has been no indication whatsoever of the Falcons initiating dialogue with DeAngelo (or vice-versa). To me, that says alot.

260 points of value to me, when you are still putting yourself in a position to have 3 first rounders and 4 of the first 45 picks in the draft, are expendable. I'm aware of what the draft value charts say, but if I'm Dallas, I need something back other than Hall for 2 1st rounders. I simply would not let a 3rd rounder get in the way of making the deal.

I would also state that as the weeks have come and gone, I'm finding that our opponents don't seem to have any fear at going after him. And they've been able to have a good degree of success. He's our best CB, but I don't think he's irreplacable by a long shot.

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"I think it's telling that the Falcons have begun long term contract negotiations with Boley even though they can RFA high tender him for another year, but there has been no indication whatsoever of the Falcons initiating dialogue with DeAngelo (or vice-versa). To me, that says alot."

Since word only recently came out about Boley, I'm not reading anything into that with regards to Hall. We'll know a lot more in the off-season about his situation. Right now, it's all speculation. Until the line is drawn in the sand about his not returning, the question remains about valuation relative to the caliber of player. This isn't enough for the best corner in football this year.

"260 points of value to me, when you are still putting yourself in a position to have 3 first rounders and 4 of the first 45 picks in the draft, are expendable. I'm aware of what the draft value charts say, but if I'm Dallas, I need something back other than Hall for 2 1st rounders. I simply would not let a 3rd rounder get in the way of making the deal."

It's entirely fine if they do say they need something back. If they don't feel he's worth two lower quarter first rounders without further compensation, that's their call. What I'm saying is that Hall for the #24 and a move up from #65 to #30 is not enough. The corner we get at #24 won't be as good as Hall. In addition, the difference in grading between a player at #30 and one at #65 is probably going to be a 90 versus an 80. That's a big bag of meh as incentive for the Falcons to deal a stud corner who just turned 24 a couple of weeks ago.

Here's a representation with players:

Falcons deal Hall and the #65 pick whom I'll list as DE Tommy Blake (currently #59 at NFLDS) from TCU. In return, we get Dejuan Tribble and Chris Ellis. We lose Hall and have to start all over again with a talented rookie corner. What we get in exchange is Chris Ellis instead of Blake. That's nowhere near enough to justify that move. Honestly, I don't think it's even close. It would be hard to come up with a draft pick-based two for two deal where the Falcons don't come up behind in terms of talent. Now, if the discussion becomes Hall for the #24 and #30, that's in the ballpark. I'd probably want a little bit more like a 3rd/4th rounder, but if Hall reduces our leverage, even that is negotiable.

Those two very late first round picks should be starters and they would be cheap. #24 pick in 2007 Brandon Meriweather got a 5-year, $8.75 million contract, which is not a bad price for a guy expected to start 3 or 4 years and play at a high level. Buster Davis, the #30 pick, got a 5-year, $7.83 million deal. I'd take two starters at different positions such as Michael Oher and Tracy Porter (and DeMario Pressley if we got the additional fourth) and feel good about what had gone down. A two for one or three for one trade can be justified. For this reason, I'd frankly prefer another Schaub deal before one where we trade Hall straight up for a first round pick unless we later deal down with our new selection. Otherwise, we're just spinning our wheels in replacing a standout corner.

You're saying the third rounder going back to Dallas shouldn't be a deal breaker, and that's where we disagree. It is a dealbreaker from my perspective because it flips the offer from being palatable to us severely downgrading in talent in the short term. As long as we are under no onus to do that, why would we do so? Now, if Hall pressures us, then the situation flips to one where we simply look for the best deal we can get.

"I would also state that as the weeks have come and gone, I'm finding that our opponents don't seem to have any fear at going after him. And they've been able to have a good degree of success. He's our best CB, but I don't think he's irreplacable by a long shot."

This is a place where I agree and disagree. I agree that he can be replaced. There are no more than 15 players in the NFL whose losses couldn't be overcome. Unfortunately, we swallowed such a loss in the off-season due to a guy's stupidity. Having said that, I disagree that Hall is not creating fear in opponents. Minnesota, Jacksonville, Houston (Johnson was out that week), SF and Tennessee didn't even bother against Hall. That's almost half of our games this year where one side of the field was clean for the overwhelming majority of the game. Teams with great receivers like Tampa and Carolina are not going to be willing to give up the opportunities to give the ball to their best playmakers simply because Hall is on the other side of the ball, but his presence enhances the way our defense can roll coverages. Chris Crocker's enhanced play this year is partially due to the way Hall impacts a game.

I've seen about 85 NFL games this year (between 6 and 7 a week), and the only other two corners having as good a year as him are Asante Samuel and Antonio Cromartie (who hasn't even started most of the year). Another had been Al Harris up until he ran into Terrell Owens. Even Champ Bailey is having a down year. It's a short list after that of guys who are on that level with Roderick Hood (no, really) and Nate Clements. So, that's five guys out of thirty two teams with Hall being in the discussion for having the most impressive year. It would hurt to lose that player. If it comes to that, we have to make sure we get enough back in the deal to make it tolerable to the team as a whole. Trading Hall is a similar situation to what the Twins are facing in trading Johan Santana. We may not be able to afford him and he probably doesn't want to be here any more, but any deal we make has to bring enough talent back the other way to save us from slitting our own wrists.

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jidaddy-

I think the main point where we disagree is what the value of Hall is. The players you listed are the top corners in the NFL. But you could also add Mike Mackenzie, Terrence Newman and Dre Bly to that list, and I don't know if you've seen much of Darrelle Revis, but he'll be in that class real soon if he isn't already. You talk about being all over the field...Revis is.

The teams you mentioned as not challenging Hall:

SF - No QB

Minnesota - Same

Jacksonville - Garrard has emerged as a solid QB, but in Game 2, still lots of questions about that passing game.

Tennessee - Vince Young still has a lot of work to do and receivers are suspect.

Houston - solid passing game when Johnson is there...he wasn't.

For the type of stature Hall seemingly has, at the very least he should be having an effect on those types of franchise. But Gus Frerotte abused him as did Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. Joey Galloway did as well and if you saw the Giant game, Amani Toomer had a good deal of success against him. I said Amani Toomer - yes, he's still in the NFL.

Honestly, DeAngelo Hall is good - but his press clippings are better IMO. You seem to believe he is a Top 3-4 CB in the NFL. I disagree. I think you ask the question "Does he belong in the Pro Bowl" rather than saying "He is a Pro-Bowler no doubt" when talking about him. So given that our value perceptions of Hall are quite a bit different - we are going to work from different platforms when assessing 1) his value to both the Falcons and in the open or trade market 2) the Falcons future plans regarding him.

I can understand the reluctance to deal Hall on alot of peoples parts. He's certainly one of the better players on the Falcons roster. It's probably not an easy decision for the Falcons front office. But at the end of the day there are three options here:

1) Sign him to a long term deal. Because of the financial commmitment to him - he becomes a centerpiece building block for the franchise.

2) Trade him (one other thing on this point - if Dallas would do the trade for simply 2 first rounders, that's great. But I think they'll need more - this is what I'd go up to).

3) Have him play one final year as a Falcon and see him leave, acquiring nothing in return.

If you sign him long-term, what you are asking of him is to also:

1) Be a company man.

2) Be a team leader.

Has he shown a propensity to be either?

One other thing to consider. While you are strictly looking at the trade from a talent exchange standpoint - you cannot ignore the financial flexibility that a deal like this provides. For me, the of tying up a very large piece of cap space for one player at this stage of the teams development (when you don't have to) is extraordinarily risky. I think it would be one thing if we were talking Deion Sanders here, when during his prime - he was unquestionably the BEST player at his position in the NFL. Hall is faaaarrrrr from that...

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"I think the main point where we disagree is what the value of Hall is. The players you listed are the top corners in the NFL. But you could also add Mike Mackenzie, Terrence Newman and Dre Bly to that list, and I don't know if you've seen much of Darrelle Revis, but he'll be in that class real soon if he isn't already. You talk about being all over the field...Revis is."

I have seen Revis and I like him a lot, but I wouldn't put him on that level. I also strongly disagree about Mackenzie and Bly. The latter player is getting the dreaded Highway #32 nickname this year, because he's been torched so much. As for Mackenzie, his stats look respectable, but New Orleans is disgusted with his play to the point that PFW believes their top priority in the off-season is corner. He's one of the main reasons they're giving up 250 passing yards a game.

"For the type of stature Hall seemingly has, at the very least he should be having an effect on those types of franchise. But Gus Frerotte abused him as did Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. Joey Galloway did as well and if you saw the Giant game, Amani Toomer had a good deal of success against him. I said Amani Toomer - yes, he's still in the NFL."

You're talking to the wrong guy there. I really, really like Amani Toomer. I said on PF a couple of times last year that it wasn't coincidence that the Giants fell apart on offense the instant he tore up his knee. As for the Rams, Hall was by no means dominant, but it was Chris Houston (and Lewis Sanders) who got smoked in that game. I actually just watched this torrent a couple of days ago, and Hall was fine.

"Honestly, DeAngelo Hall is good - but his press clippings are better IMO. You seem to believe he is a Top 3-4 CB in the NFL. I disagree."

It's fine that you disagree but I say in all sincerity that I have seen a ton of NFL games. He has been the most consistently impressive corner in 2007. If you want to argue about past years, that's fine, but he's been every bit as good as his reputation on the field outside of a single tantrum against Steve Smith.

"So given that our value perceptions of Hall are quite a bit different - we are going to work from different platforms when assessing 1) his value to both the Falcons and in the open or trade market 2) the Falcons future plans regarding him."

Fair enough. I always look forward to your football insights. It's perfectly fine that we don't always line up in our assessments of players.

"If you sign him long-term, what you are asking of him is to also:

1) Be a company man.

2) Be a team leader.

Has he shown a propensity to be either?"

I think this is a more complex question that it might seem on the surface. When the 2004 draft occurred, Hall could have been drafted higher and he knew it. The team he wanted to play for, however, was Atlanta. That was his dream. I don't believe that sort of feeling ever completely goes away. It hasn't been a smooth road, but to his credit, he has been as good as his word about not causing trouble in interviews since speaking with Petrino. He also has butted heads with the coach about not being given enough responsibility as a leader. So, you see him as unlikely to want those duties. I see him as willing but unable to accomplish them so far. Loathe as I am to compare him to Sanders, I have not forgotten that exactly the same issues occurred back in the early 90s with our last great corner. I don't want history to repeat itself.

"I think it would be one thing if we were talking Deion Sanders here, when during his prime - he was unquestionably the BEST player at his position in the NFL. Hall is faaaarrrrr from that..."

Hall is a 24-year-old player that I believe is playing at the highest level of any corner in the league, so I see him as being that type of player in the current game. If we trade a guy that good, we cannot forward to take anything less back in return than a dollar for a dollar.

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The only thing with this draft is that we don't get much interior line help going into next season. We can protect any corner we sign in FA with a solid pass rush and there are a lot of good defensive tackles to play alongside Lewis next season. Other than that, I would sell my future firstborn for that to play out.:D

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Richard Nixon (12/6/2007)
The only thing with this draft is that we don't get much interior line help going into next season. We can protect any corner we sign in FA with a solid pass rush and there are a lot of good defensive tackles to play alongside Lewis next season. Other than that, I would sell my future firstborn for that to play out.:D

In this scenario, the interior line help is coming from the free agent market. Don't forget about Datish as well. He's potential depth, but I'd like to see what he could bring.

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jidaddy -

I think our positions on Hall are clear so we won't reach an accord on what to do with him. But on one last point, you mentioned that while being loathe to compare Hall to Deion, their situations were similar and you don't want history to repeat itself.

On that I agree.

That's why you trade him...because if we wait for the situation to get better with Hall, the chances are good that he'll bolt. In addition to the Falcons not approaching Hall about a long term extension, you haven't heard Hall's agent stumping for the Falcons to start talking either. Truth is, he said as much this summer (see below).

LINK - Hall says he wants to see FA

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"That's why you trade him...because if we wait for the situation to get better with Hall, the chances are good that he'll bolt."

This is another example of us using the same facts to draw entirely different conclusions. Sanders has said himself that he never wanted to love Atlanta. He was frustrated by playing for a losing franchise that also refused to listen to him about the team's situation. Now, Sanders is a drama queen who is oftentimes not as good as his word, but that's the way I remember the situation playing out at the time. Of course, I also thought he was wildly popular in the Braves locker room back then when nothing could have been further from the truth. The point is that had he been treated the way he wanted to be treated, I believe he would have stayed, and he would have played at a Hall of Fame level for many more years. If the same is true of Hall, we should only trade him if there is no other solution.

With regards to Hall's comments, he's been all over the place with his comments. He also said he would take less money to stay if it meant he could play with Houston for a long time to come. We'll find out for sure pretty quickly after the season ends. If he wants to go, I'll all for finding the best deal and ditching him. It's if he's on the fence where things get interesting.

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jidady (12/6/2007)
"That's why you trade him...because if we wait for the situation to get better with Hall, the chances are good that he'll bolt."

This is another example of us using the same facts to draw entirely different conclusions. Sanders has said himself that he never wanted to love Atlanta. He was frustrated by playing for a losing franchise that also refused to listen to him about the team's situation. Now, Sanders is a drama queen who is oftentimes not as good as his word, but that's the way I remember the situation playing out at the time. Of course, I also thought he was wildly popular in the Braves locker room back then when nothing could have been further from the truth. The point is that had he been treated the way he wanted to be treated, I believe he would have stayed, and he would have played at a Hall of Fame level for many more years. If the same is true of Hall, we should only trade him if there is no other solution.

With regards to Hall's comments, he's been all over the place with his comments. He also said he would take less money to stay if it meant he could play with Houston for a long time to come. We'll find out for sure pretty quickly after the season ends. If he wants to go, I'll all for finding the best deal and ditching him. It's if he's on the fence where things get interesting.

The whole notion of an organization listening to a player about the teams situation is one I would be wary to engage in. Listen, I'm sure you're a professional. It's fine to vent about work and work conditions to co-workers and colleagues selectively and behind closed doors. But once you start mouthing off publicly and expecting 'the organization' to heed to your requests of how you want to be treated, that's when a line has been crossed.

As for Hall's comments after the Panthers game, well, it's one thing to measure one's comments in an interview piece conducted during the off-season. It's another to measure them during post-game remarks in a winning locker room.

Surely, the Falcons front office will gauge what his intentions are, but I'd be surprised if he was willing to talk turkey.

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