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Falcons may cut ONE DOZEN PLAYERS!


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http://www.ajc.com/services/content/sports...xsvc=7&cxcat=21

Falcons may cut as many as a dozen players

By STEVE WYCHE

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 02/14/08

The Falcons' roster will undergo a radical change and those moves could come as soon as Friday.

Several veterans will be cut and there could be some surprises, according to interviews with NFL officials and player agents by the Journal-Constitution. The radical changes will come at nearly every position.

Among the veterans who could be released is strong safety Lawyer Milloy, said one NFL official familiar with the Falcons' internal personnel discussions. Such a move would strip the Falcons of their most respected leader and leave the team without either of last season's starting safeties. Free safety Chris Crocker's contract is expiring, and the Falcons don't plan to re-sign him.

The offense could be in for a complete makeover as offensive linemen Wayne Gandy, Kynan Forney and Todd Weiner, wide receivers Joe Horn and Brian Finneran, tailback Warrick Dunn and quarterbacks Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich all have had their futures debated.

Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Keith Brooking could be among those released to the defense.

"They have to figure out how big this is going to be because they still have to line up and play 16 games next season," the NFL official told the AJC about the upcoming roster overhaul.

There are a variety of reasons for the moves, including scheme fit, salary-cap ramifications, age, injury or giving veterans a chance to sign with another team that might be a better fit. With a new general manager and head coach, the personnel discussions that have taken place within the organization will result in the 2008 Falcons looking drastically different than the squad that finished 4-12 in 2007.

"We are just going to see how it all shakes out," said Butch Williams, the agent for tight end Alge Crumpler. "With so many new people in the front office and so many new coaches, it's hard to tell. We'll see."

Some agents anticipate their clients being handed their walking papers or being asked to alter their contracts. They request that if the Falcons cut their players it is done soon so they can begin working the free-agent market, which opens Feb. 29.

"If they do it, just do it quick," Williams said.

New general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith said they want to be strong up the middle, and many of the potential changes appear to be coming from tailback through safety.

Dunn, 33 and in the final year of his contract, counts $6.3 million against the salary cap. He might not be the proper fit for new offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey's scheme. Harrington or Leftwich, and perhaps both, could be released.

Forney is in the last year of his deal that pays him nearly $3 million. Gandy (36, coming off season-ending knee surgery) and Weiner, whose season-ending knee surgery might not allow him to be ready to start the season, could also be replaced.

Adding at least one defensive tackle is a priority, but it might not come at the expense of cutting players. Brooking isn't expected to play middle linebacker again for the Falcons and if he is back with the team, he probably would be moved to his natural weakside position.

If Milloy returns, it will be his final year and a replacement must be groomed. More immediate help is needed at free safety. Jimmy Williams might get a shot to compete for the starting job, but more help is expected to come via free agency or the draft.

Making sure there is enough incoming talent or talent on the roster to fill in for players also will play a huge role in who stays.

Though Crumpler is coming off a down season, was limited by knee problems and carries a $4.7 million cap charge, there simply might not be anyone on the team or available in the draft or free agency who would make cutting him worthwhile, the NFL official said.

"He's had a good experience in Atlanta," Williams said of Crumpler, a four-time Pro Bowler. "Subject to them doing something, we're status quo."

Staff writer D. Orlando Ledbetter contributed to this article.

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i am fine with this idea, but i do think there are some players that should be kept. here is how id break it down:

Joey Harrington- gone

Leftwich- gone

Gandy- gone

Forney- gone

Dunn- gone

Finneran- gone

Joe Horn- could be gone, but if he isnt released needs to adjust his deal, way too much $$ for too little production

Weiner- I wouldnt cut him personally, but if we are worried about how effective he will be then go ahead, but we will need to draft 2 OT's, and id like Ryan Clady and Carl Nicks please.

Rod Coleman- gone

Brooking- could be gone because he is up there in age, seems to be slowing down a bit, and probably isnt a great fit for the cover-2. hes got a high cap charge, and if we do cut him then D-Mo has to be a top priority. he would be a perfect WLB for the Cover-2 with all of his speed. nicholas is depth right now.

Milloy- i wouldnt cut him. hes not overly expensive and he is a good veteran leader. keep him and let him tutor a young guy like daren stone or someone else we acquire in free agency

i would love to have crocker back but perhaps hes not the best fit for the cover 2. i think the saftey position will need to be addressed in free agency because we need to use the draft to upgrade the offensive line (specifically OT) and the defensive line. a great pass rush will make the secondary look better, no matter who they are.

also, deangelo hall staying or going will be very up in the air as well. id love to keep him, but if we can trade him for picks that could help us upgrade the saftey position then i would probably have to let him go. if we can get 2 2nd rounders we could get a good cover-2 guy and look towards saftey with a guy like jonathan hefney in the 3rd round, who i think could be a steal. his size reminds me of bob sanders since he is short, but he is a good FS imo.

craig steltz could be a good addition in the 4th round for a saftey also, but im only drafting a saftey if we can add another 2nd rounder or two to allow us to spend the better picks on the defensive line and a cover-2 replacement for deangelo hall should we actually deal him.

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Milloy's leaving would break my heart. Weiner is something of a surprise, but I understand the logic. I hate to hear we can't get a draft pick for Forney, but if Carolina couldn't get one for Wahle, I can't say I'm surprised.

As for Leftwich and Harrington, good f**king riddance. What an abomination those two were.

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Draftnut57 (2/14/2008)
There is only one player on this team that would bother me if he was cut , but I'm sure he will be kept , BC they know he is not replacable , Mr. Falcon = Brooking .

Yeah, but there's no loyalty in sports. If they feel it's time to move on then that's OK with me. I like Brooking just as much as the rest, but he's not going to be part of our rebuilding project.

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Draftnut57 (2/14/2008)
There is only one player on this team that would bother me if he was cut , but I'm sure he will be kept , BC they know he is not replacable , Mr. Falcon = Brooking .
could replace his play with an undrafted FA but maybe not his stat hogging.
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scott24falcs (2/14/2008)
Draftnut57 (2/14/2008)
There is only one player on this team that would bother me if he was cut , but I'm sure he will be kept , BC they know he is not replacable , Mr. Falcon = Brooking .

Yeah, but there's no loyalty in sports. If they feel it's time to move on then that's OK with me. I like Brooking just as much as the rest, but he's not going to be part of our rebuilding project.

Then No you don't like Brooking as good as I do either , and yes there is loyalty with some of us. And he will stay and retire a Falcon . Count on it , it is possible that they cut him and hten resign him , but he'll be here. ;)

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cwell1 (2/14/2008)
Draftnut57 (2/14/2008)
There is only one player on this team that would bother me if he was cut , but I'm sure he will be kept , BC they know he is not replacable , Mr. Falcon = Brooking .
could replace his play with an undrafted FA but maybe not his stat hogging.

Dude , you need to think about what you just said, the last half for a hint . You self incrimanated yourself.

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"Then No you don't like Brooking as good as I do either , and yes there is loyalty with some of us. And he will stay and retire a Falcon . Count on it , it is possible that they cut him and hten resign him , but he'll be here"

Oh, I like Brooking a lot too. I'm thinking in terms of the organization as a whole. If they feel he can't play at a high level anymore, than there's no reason to keep him on the team. As far as loyalty, I was speaking in terms of franchises, not us the fans. Dimitroff and Smith have no ties to Brooking, so if they don't feel he's what we need moving forward, than Keith Brooking might go elsewhere. It would feel weird seeing him in another jersey (assuming he doesn't retire).

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scott24falcs (2/14/2008)
"Then No you don't like Brooking as good as I do either , and yes there is loyalty with some of us. And he will stay and retire a Falcon . Count on it , it is possible that they cut him and hten resign him , but he'll be here"

Oh, I like Brooking a lot too. I'm thinking in terms of the organization as a whole. If they feel he can't play at a high level anymore, than there's no reason to keep him on the team. As far as loyalty, I was speaking in terms of franchises, not us the fans. Dimitroff and Smith have no ties to Brooking, so if they don't feel he's what we need moving forward, than Keith Brooking might go elsewhere. It would feel weird seeing him in another jersey (assuming he doesn't retire).

Exactly , and that is why they will keep him. BC he can still play at a high leval , and they will see it on tape , it don't lie neither dose his stats and probowls. He''s not done yet.

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