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Needy Falcons Add Mike Peterson

Posted Mar 10th 2009 12:57AM by Chris Burke (RSS feed)

Filed Under: Falcons, Jaguars, NFL Free Agency

Mike PetersonThe Falcons had no strongside linebacker after Michael Boley opted to sign with the Giants. They had no weakside linebacker after letting Keith Brooking go. Atlanta's breathing a little easier now, though, because, according to NFL.com, it has picked up Mike Peterson, a guy that can fill in at either spot.

Peterson spent the last six years in Jacksonville, though he was banged up in 2006-07 -- playing in just 15 total games -- and served a one-game suspension last season before pulled from the starting defense. Despite all that turmoil last season, he made 84 tackles. From 2002-05, Peterson never missed a game, playing three seasons with the Jags and one with Indianapolis, averaging 123 tackles per year.

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The fallout in Jacksonville was swift and surprising this past year, putting the writing on the wall for a Peterson exit once he hit free agency. It made sense for him to wind up in Atlanta, given the attrition the Falcons experienced in the past couple weeks.

Peterson has 11 NFL seasons under his belt, so he'll bring some much-needed experience to Atlanta, which must fill Brooking's shoes in that department.

The big question is: Can he stay healthy? Atlanta's no doubt willing to chalk up the little incident with Jack Del Rio as a blip on the radar, but the injuries that cost him 17 games in the two seasons before this past one are a bit of a red flag. Still, even at 32, Peterson is a solid linebacker and a guy with a nose for the ball -- especially when playing against the run -- so he'll certainly help remake Atlanta's suddenly depleted linebacking corps.

Tags: Jacksonville+Jaguars, Keith+Brooking, Mike+Boley, Mike+Peterson


Falcons Sign Peterson to Two-Year Deal

Mike Peterson (Getty Images)

By Doug Farrar


Posted Mar 10, 2009

As first reported by NFL.com, the Atlanta Falcons have signed former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Mike Peterson to a two-year deal. Terms are undisclosed at this time.

The signing reunites Peterson with Falcons head coach Mike Smith, who was the linebacker's defensive coordinator from 2003 through 2007. In 2008, Peterson was benched after a series of disputes with head coach Jack Del Rio. We asked Charlie Bernstein, Publisher of JagNation.com, for his take on the 10-year veteran:

Peterson had been a great leader and great player for the Jaguars ever since his arrival in 2003, but age seemed to catch up with him in 2008, which would be a microcosm for the entire Jaguars defense. Peterson began the year playing the "Mike" position and was simply not the old Mike Peterson. The 10-year vet took bad angles, missed numerous tackles, and generally was more bark than bite. It was very obvious that Peterson needed to find the bench, and following a week 9 loss to the then-winless Cincinnati Bengals, Peterson spoke out in a team meeting and Del Rio took exception to the outburst and dismissed him from the team. Peterson was inactive for the next week, and didn't start again until week 16 when new starting middle linebacker Daryl Smith was placed on injured reserve.

Peterson was inserted into the lineup after his initial benching and played the "Sam" linebacker position, and played much better. As for how much Peterson has left, it really remains to be seen. Peterson benefitted greatly during his time in Jacksonville from the dominant play of Marcus Stroud and John Henderson, and when their play suffered, so did Peterson's. Mike Peterson isn't anywhere near the same dominant tackling machine he was from 2003-2005, but he can still be a solid fill-in either in the middle or on the outside. Peterson had his best years with Coach Smith and if anyone can resurrect his career it would be him.

Peterson had missed 17 games during the 2006-2007 season with a torn pectoral and broken arm, both injuries which have since healed.

Peterson was selected in the second round of the 1999 draft by the Indianapolis Colts, and signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in March of 2003. He has amassed 1,000 total tackles, 19.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and 15 interceptions in his career.

He will most likely take the role of weakside linebacker with Atlanta, bringing valuable veteran depth to an outside linebacker corps that has been virtually vaporized by the departures of Keith Brooking and Michael Boley.

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Lets see who makes less than peterson and you be the judge CATO JUNE - JAMES HARRISON - TAKEO SPIKES -BRIAN URLACHER -LANCE BRIGGS -CHANNING CROWDER just to name a few .........which would you rather have and feel like you got what you paid for..........

So all of those players averaged under $3 mil per year for the life of their contracts?

Or are you just looking at the salary for this year when they got the majority up front?

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