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Lofton Pricing Himself Out Of The Market


Ergo Proxy
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http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/17977398/lofton-pricing-himself-out-of-the-market

--Former Falcons middle linebacker Curtis Lofton may have priced himself out of the free-agency market.

With Detroit re-signing Stephen Tulloch to a five-year contract, Lofton is the biggest named linebacker still out on the market. Lofton lost one possible suitor when the Philadelphia Eagles traded for DeMeco Ryans.

Also, former Seattle linebacker David Hawthorne has not signed.

Both Hawthorne and Lofton visited the New Orleans Saints over the weekend. Lofton also has an offer from Tampa Bay.

Lofton went out to dinner on Sunday night with New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, head coach Sean Payton, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and linebackers coach Joe Vitt. He met with the coaches on Monday to talk a little football.

Hawthorne met with the Saints on Saturday and early Sunday.

The linebacker market was set early in free agency when San Francisco signed linebacker Ahmad Brooks to a six-year, $44.5 million contract with $17.5 million of it guaranteed and Cleveland signed linebacker D'Qwell Jackson to a five-year contract worth $42.5 million. A total of $19 million is guaranteed. But teams wouldn't go that high for other players.

The numbers for Tulloch's deal were $25 million over five years with $11 million guaranteed.

The Falcons held talks with Lofton's representatives at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Those talks were termed as amicable, but the team elected to move in another direction.

Lofton has played 95, 95 and 99 percent of the defensive snaps over the last three years. Lofton, the team's leading tackler over the past four seasons, was drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft. He had 577 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

As things stand, the Falcons will attempt to replace Lofton with Lofa Tatupu, 29, a three-time Pro Bowler who did not play last season. Also, Akeem Dent will get a chance to win playing time. The Falcons continue to talk to Lofton's camp and have described those talks as productive.

It's possible that Lofton may have priced himself out of the market and may have to return to the Falcons for a year and then take another shot at free agency next offseason because most of the money is drying up.

Greg Cosell of NFL films said of Lofton, "I think he's a guy who does everything well and nothing spectacular. He's a very solid, consistent player week after week, snap after snap."

That's a problem. If teams are paying you $8 million per year they want more than steady play. They want to see those spectacular plays that Cosell doesn't see.

"I think Lofton is a complete player, just not a spectacular player," Cosell said.

Lofton may have to readjust his expectations much like defensive end John Abraham did. He was looking for something in the $12 million per year range before settling for a three-year deal that averages $7 million.

For most of his first four seasons, Lofton was considered one of the cornerstones of the defense. Clearly, something has changed.

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It simply could be that Lofton is not the near all pro talent we were all making him out to be. Some might say its the scheme that has held him back. I think the NFL is full of talent evaluators that know thier stuff, if Lofton is still out there, there is a reason for it and its probably more than just his salary demands holding him back.

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Guest TheIdowu

While I would love Lofton back, many of our fans on AFMB over-rate our players skill level, talent, ability, and production. Apparently Lofton is not the rare talent we make him out to be. Nolan aint fighting tooth and nail to keep him and neither is TD or Smith. Several LBs are gone off the market and Lofton is still hanging around. The reason has to be more than just him pricing himself too high. If they feel he is pricing himself too high, then he is not worth what he think he is. . . . .This reminds me of Snelling last off-season. Dude tested the market for several weeks only to end up right back here.

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Guest Negatorris

Basically he's asking for elite LB money, when he isn't a complete LB. Tatupu and Ryans are good examples because neither of them were bad in pass coverage like Lofton. If Lofton was Spoon he would have been signed to a big payday. But Spoon is what we call a complete LB, soon to be elite. I love Lofton(unless he signs with a rival) but he is lacking in pass coverage, and with his weak knees he can't get that much better.

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I don't call Lofton weak in coverage, he just doesn't make a difference. He's like a nickel CB that isn't getting burned all of the time, but isn't making game-changing plays covering the slot receiver either like often we see with 3 deep CB laden defenses. He improved enough to be on the field more on passing downs, he is still very young at 25, and AFAIK his knees haven't hindered him from playing to date.

That aside, if ATL re-signed Lofton to a contract similar to what Tulloch just got, 5 years for around 5-6 million per, I'd be satisfied. He'd still be a beast in a 3-4 defense or 4-3 MLB. Dent/Tatupu/Lofton/Weatherspoon with a potential re-signing of Peterson for one last hurrah and the LB core would be solid. Not sold as of now on the LB core. Tatupu returning to 90% of his former self and playing at a high level/injury free is a best case scenario, IMO.

So, to me Lofton is a guy worth keeping especially since he can't get what he seeks on the market. For a good price, why not?

Lofton is to me what Roddy White is at WR. Very good, solid players but don't do anything spectacular or aren't 'the best' at their position. Pro, pro bowl caliber, but not all-pro or special. Reliable but not 'the' difference 'maker'.

So, summary: Re-sign Lofton at Tulloch like numbers and I think it's doable.

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Lofton is to me what Roddy White is at WR. Very good, solid players but don't do anything spectacular or aren't 'the best' at their position. Pro, pro bowl caliber, but not all-pro or special. Reliable but not 'the' difference 'maker'.

And this is where talent evaluation goes awry. The message board prefers "reliable" players to highly talented but inconsistent ones.

I could name 16 better ILBs than Lofton. I couldn't name 5 better receivers than Roddy.

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Lofton is to me what Roddy White is at WR. Very good, solid players but don't do anything spectacular or aren't 'the best' at their position. Pro, pro bowl caliber, but not all-pro or special. Reliable but not 'the' difference 'maker'.

So, summary: Re-sign Lofton at Tulloch like numbers and I think it's doable.

WAT???? Lofton is like a roddy white?? Listen roddy doesnt do aanything "spectacular" but hhe also is a game changer... Th biggest thing aabout a WR isnt circus catches, its first downs and TDs thta wat matters...

Lofton doent make plays he makes tackles.. he isnt a game changer but a solid LB... Top 10 yes

Roddy white top 5(#3) BIG DIFFERENCE

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And this is where talent evaluation goes awry. The message board prefers "reliable" players to highly talented but inconsistent ones.

I could name 16 better ILBs than Lofton. I couldn't name 5 better receivers than Roddy.

There are at least 15 receivers better than Roddy at this point. He benefits from a ton of targets whether he's open or not.

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I think the summary of his play in the article is very accurate. Solid, VERY dependable, but not spectacular. I think Spoon has shown more upside in two seasons than Lofton has shown in four. Spoon could be a great MLB if needed. But all in all this doesn't mean I dislike Lofton or want to see him go. I'd love to sign him back at the right price. And I'd love to see him raise his game another notch. Maybe this is a reality check he needed.

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What do you mean by "a Jessie Tuggle type"? This dude was definitely elite.

I agree. Tuggle had more tackles in the 90's than any other NFL player. He knocked peoples HEADS off. The guy was ferocious against the run, and got gradually better against the pass. I have yet to see the intensity from Lofton that we saw from Tuggle on a regular basis.

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This is one of the reasons I love TD. Last year, TD let Snelling walk, and look where he ended up. We let Edwards sit on the market until his price dropped. TD let Abe walk, and brought him back hella cheap. The same will happen to Lofton.

good point....this is something Rich McKay never did.....we jumped the gun on re-signing everybody and overpaid our average players.

Its one thing to overpay a superstar, but there is no excuse to overpay your solid or average players.

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And the fact that Lofton aimed to high is going to hurt him. Now the demand is lower. Falcons signed Tatupu, Eagles traded for Ryans, etc...

It won't hurt him...unless you count injured egos.

He'll still get signed...just for closer to his true value. And he will more than likely accept it and be a happy millionaire going forward.

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Lofton will realize his market value was not nearly what he thought. He should realize that by now actually. I don't blame him for trying to get more...but what he was asking for was ridiculous.

he should fire his agent........all players think they are "the best" - while the agent is on your side, the agent is also supposed to protect you from situations like this and be real with you about the demand for your services.

If Falcons were offering $6million/yr initially (for example) then Lofton should have taken it. Falcons likely are no longer interested - if they are, it would be for much, much less.....

I'm happy w/ Dent/Tatupu right now.

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