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Tdwii’S Pre Free Agent Frenzy Observations


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Mario Williams: I made the case against him here. But I wouldn’t be averse to having him be a Falcon if it did wind up happening. But I will leave you with a final thought on the matter.

The last 5 seasons, we’ve had the services of a DE who over a 5 year period averaged.

36 tackles

11 sacks

3 forced fumbles

4 tackles for loss

2 passes defensed

If Mario Williams produced these numbers for the next 5 years, we by and large would be satisfied with that level of production. I think the expectations would perhaps have been bigger than what is represented above, but for the most part – that's a solid level of play.

The question I ask is this. If our defense is seen as having not had a good pass rush with this type of DE…why are we looking to break the bank to replicate this? I remember back to DeAngelo Hall and how many were so against trading him because of the basic question ‘how would we replace him?’ Sure enough we did, and it turned out to be the right move. And I simply think that people are overestimating the impact Mario Williams would have here if he was signed…and to a certain extent, people are underestimating Abraham’s legacy here. Losing Abraham hurts for sure, but I agree with allowing the market to play out here.

Overall, though…I’d be excited about this because it is a big move and Williams does have a high ceiling. And perhaps it’s not as much about the player as the way the Falcons are shoving their chips to the middle of the table with regard to what they feel they need to do to get to the top. But is Williams/Tatupu better than Abraham/Lofton?

Carl Nicks: If I’m spending BIG money…this is where it’s going. Instead of having the talent to be the best at his position…he is the best at his position. In providing an interior mauler who is equally adept in the pass & run game, you shore up a unit that has increasingly struggled to provide Matt Ryan good enough protection and in some ways too, holes for Michael Turner. Is it a sexy position to spend big bucks at? Only to Ryan I’d guess…and he’ll be cheaper than Mario, although not by too much.

Jason Snelling: Of the signings we made so far, this was the one that surprised me the most UNLESS, he’s going to become a Kevin Turner like FB. With Turner and Snelling on the field together…that might help diversify the Falcons screen game a bit. If the move is simply to secure a back-up, versatile player…not sure I understand the move. That said, cheap deal and the Falcons can extricate themselves from it easily enough. If the signing is an indication of Snelling’s move to FB, an RB in the draft still makes sense.

Michael Turner: Can he be given 325 touches again (or thereabouts)? No. But his abilities and his impact have been awfully maligned on this board. He’s not without his limitations for sure, but he provides a still solid compliment of skills that can contribute positively to the Falcons offense. They simply need to be managed better with complimentary personnel.

Curtis Lofton/Lofa Tatupu: The one thing that came to mind with the Tatupu signing was the lockout. And this applies to the Manuwai signing as well. But specifically, Tatupu came out of the 2010 season quite beat up if I remember correctly. And having undergone two knee procedures during the off-season and prior to the official lockout commencing, he was under team care still. But when the lockout occurred, no longer could his rehab be supervised by team doctors. While I’m projecting here, I also remember Manning being concerned that his recovery from neck surgery could not be overseen by team doctors. The overall point here is that while I hate to see Lofton go, I like the out-of-the-box thinking Dimitroff used here and the move possesses the potential to be a home run. With that said, Tatupu proved to be quite injury prone as well, so there is some risk involved here, although none of it of the financial variety.

I get letting Lofton go…at the end of the day, you can’t keep everyone. And if Tatupu represents part of Plan B, it’s an inventive way to solve the problem. One that my armchair vision and abilities had no inkling of. Here’s to crossing our fingers that Tatupu finds the Fountain of Youth and Health (…try Centennial Park!)

Brent Grimes: He’s been tendered at the $10.6M level I believe…? When Dunta signed his 6 year deal, he received $25.5M in guarantees. I’d be interested to understand the gulf between the two parties, but I would think that if Grimes was asking for a similar contract to what Robinson received , they shouldn’t be too far off from completing a longer term deal of magnitude. So I have to believe that Grimes demands are north of $10M/year. It’s a contract that should be too rich for the Falcons blood, but if his demands came down to the $8.5-9M/year range, that should be enough to get a deal done. Unfortunately, it does not look like this will happen prior to tomorrow. However, if it can happen prior to training camp, it would still be advantageous to the Falcons (and Grimes).

The Saints: Short of Drew Brees suffering a career threatening injury in some type of off-season mishap, I could not picture the Saints having a worse last 6 weeks. I wouldn’t worry about Brees if I’m a Saints fan. He’ll be back and be superb again and he’s not going anywhere. But all of a sudden, this is a team in transition and turmoil what with the bounty scandal hanging over the organization. But in the last 4 drafts, here is the entirety of their drafts first 3 rounds.

Cameron Jordan

Mark Ingram

Martrez Wilson

Johnny Patrick

Patrick Robinson

Charles Brown

Jimmy Graham

Malcolm Jenkins

Sedrick Ellis

Tracy Porter

In guys like Jenkins, Graham…the Saints made out, but this is not a team that has drafted all that effectively at the top of the draft and BountyGate seems poised to hurt them for at least the 2012 draft if not also 2013. What with some of the FA defections they seem likely to incur (Nicks, Meachem, Colston, Vilma), this is a team in the process of a talent drain. Now, Brees covers up a lot and I don’t expect the Saints to become bottom feeders by any stretch. But all of a sudden, it feels like the Saints powerhouse days have ended. No doubt they’ll be competitive, but they now most certainly seem compromised.

What that means for the Falcons? 2012 is a BIG, BIG season. It already was because of the playoff meltdown, but I would be surprised if the Falcons didn’t come into 2012 as prohibitive 2012 NFC South favorites. I suspect there will be some sentiment for Carolina making a surprise run at the division title and they should be better. But I think they still have quite a few holes on both sides of the ball and in locking up some of their young veterans last off-season to sizable contracts, I think they’ll have to rely mostly on the draft to improve personnel.

So the Falcons road to January is most probably less daunting…but January still looms as the Falcons kryptonite and it won’t be enough to even clinch the #1 seed. They’ll have to do it in convincing style and make some hey.

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I don't understand how you sign Manuwai and people still clamor for Nicks. I always love your posts TDWII, but Nicks is almost a 0% possibility now or signing Manuwai would have been a waste of money. They even told him they signed him to play RG, so he is in the mix to start. Plus, with the abundance of rookie OGs, there are plenty more routes than Nicks.

Still, if they don't get Williams, I don't know who they go at. Langford makes the most since to help anchor the front of that defense but no pass rush. With guys like Brees, Newton, and Freeman in your division alone, you go hard after every pass rusher that hits FA (Peppers, Johnson, Edwards, Haynesworth). Even if he doesn't like up to Abe's numbers, his impact will be equal if not greater because he is bigger, stronger, and younger. Going Nicks in FA assumes you go DE at #55. Who would you take that is better than Sidbury/Biermann? I don't see any of them. But there are plenty of OGs better than Johnson/Jackson if you wanted a RG over Manuwai.

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I hate wasting so much money on CBs. sad.png

I know but with a lack luster pass rush it does become more of a need. Hopefully Nolan can dial up some other ways to get a pass rush, cause even the best corners get beat if the QB gets loads of time.

A lot of uncertainty in the defensive backfield for the Birds. Hopefully Dunta will elevate his level of play in Nolan's defense and hopefully Grimes will fit the defense and continue to play at a high level.

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With the dramatic shift of the NFL to the passing game CBs and DEs are at a premium.

Yep I agree Nolan is going to earn his paycheck this year,he has got to get 2-3 unheralded current players to really excel in his defense, along with the best they already have. I think he will though it's not like they didn't discuss this before they signed Nolan.

Just wonder if that big splash is out there for the Birds

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I don't understand how you sign Manuwai and people still clamor for Nicks. I always love your posts TDWII, but Nicks is almost a 0% possibility now or signing Manuwai would have been a waste of money. They even told him they signed him to play RG, so he is in the mix to start. Plus, with the abundance of rookie OGs, there are plenty more routes than Nicks.

Still, if they don't get Williams, I don't know who they go at. Langford makes the most since to help anchor the front of that defense but no pass rush. With guys like Brees, Newton, and Freeman in your division alone, you go hard after every pass rusher that hits FA (Peppers, Johnson, Edwards, Haynesworth). Even if he doesn't like up to Abe's numbers, his impact will be equal if not greater because he is bigger, stronger, and younger. Going Nicks in FA assumes you go DE at #55. Who would you take that is better than Sidbury/Biermann? I don't see any of them. But there are plenty of OGs better than Johnson/Jackson if you wanted a RG over Manuwai.

What I would argue here is that we went into the 2011 season with Garret Reynolds/Joe Hawley/Mike Johhnson as the troika who would hold down that spot. Combined, the 3 of them had exactly zero NFL starts.

So while the signing of Manuwai is intriguing, he also represents a little bit of a leap of faith that he can actually start 16 games. For a player who has struggled with weight issues and staying in shape in large part because when he's not healthy, he balloons...this is a precarious position still to rely solely on Manuwai for.

Is Nicks coming here? I don't know. But I do know that while the Manuwai signing has alot of the same characteristics as the Tatupu signing...protecting Matt Ryan and providing him the time to make use of the great receiving weapons has to be the Falcons priority #1. Signing Manuwai alone should not be seen as the solution to that even when simply talking about the RG position.

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