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4 reasons the Falcons are being so quiet early in free agency

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4 reasons the Falcons are being so quiet early in free agency

By: Tim Weaver | March 11, 2017 10:35 am

Do something!

That’s the refrain you’ll hear over and over this time of year from many NFL fans who are panicked because their team has yet to make a significant splash in the opening days of free agency.

Since the new league year began on Thursday, the Atlanta Falcons have been quiet almost to an extreme. Thus far they have only signed one outside free agent: former Dallas Cowboys defensive edge Jack Crawford. They’ve also re-signed several of their own, including quarterback Matt Schaub, linebacker LaRoy Reynolds and cornerback Blidi-Wreh Wilson.

Earth-shaking moves these are not.

Some Atlanta fans are getting antsy that the Falcons will get left behind, especially with their NFC South rivals wheeling and dealing like mad in an attempt to catch up with the division champions. If you’re in this camp, you should take some advice from Aaron Rodgers: inhale and relax. There are several good reasons why Atlanta is being so quiet in free agency.

Here are four of the biggest ones.

1. Money is tight

First things first, you can’t spend what you don’t have and the Falcons are a relatively cash-strapped team at the moment.

According to the latest salary cap figures made available to the public by the NFLPA, Atlanta has roughly $17.7 million in cap room right now. Only six teams around the league have less cash on hand. Some estimate the true figure may be closer to $10 million.

Unless the Falcons are planning on making significant roster cuts to save money, they’re simply not going to be able to create big headlines by bringing in outside help. The good news is Atlanta doesn’t need it.

2. The roster is good

Aside from a few minor holes at a handful of positions, the Falcons roster is well set up to be a competitor in the long run.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff has gone so far as to claim there are no major holes on the roster, and it’s hard to disagree with him. The team he’s constructed with coach Dan Quinn is quite good and it should be for the foreseeable future.

Atlanta may have been the oldest team in the NFL last year but that average was artifically inflated by a couple of very advanced veterans who played minor roles – Dwight Freeney, Matt Schaub and Jonathan Babineaux, to name a few. The core of the Falcons’ NFC Champion team is either young or still in their prime.

MVP Matt Ryan, No. 1 wide receiver Julio Jones and top running back Devonta Freeman all still have a number of high-quality seasons ahead of them and Atlanta’s defense is extremely young and will only get better with more time on the field together.

You can’t spend what you don’t have but when your basic needs are already met there’s no reason to splurge in the first place.

3. Extensions must come first

Those that are puzzled by the Falcons’ inactivity have not been paying attention much this offseason. Dimitroff has publicly stated on a number of occasions that the team’s priority this offseason is to pay its own players first.

A major extension for cornerback Desmond Trufant is the No. 1 item on this list. Despite his recent injury Trufant is the best defensive back on the team and deserves to be compensated appropriately. Trufant is expected to sign a deal worth between $12 and $14.5 million per year. That will put him among the league’s best-compensated cornerbacks and lock him up through his athletic prime.

There’s an even bigger elephant in the room, as well.

Just before the NFC Championship game against Green Bay, a report came out that the Falcons were planning to talk about an extension with Ryan this offseason. Any new long-term deal for Ryan at this point may break Andrew Luck’s record for the biggest contract in the NFL.

Between an elite CB contract and a massive QB1 extension, that’s a lot of dollars for the Falcons to account for and will tie up a great deal of resources. Until one of these deals gets done, Atlanta probably won’t be making any other major moves.

4. Free agency doesn’t work

Finally, as a general rule building NFL teams via free agency just doesn’t work.

That’s not to say teams should avoid signing free agents entirely. Just last offseason Atlanta landed a few gems in Alex Mack, Taylor Gabriel and Mohamed Sanu. New England and Denver have also played the market well in recent years, picking up contributors at bargain prices.

The point is the teams that are making huge headlines during the tampering period and in the first few days are usually the most desperate ones. Jacksonville, San Francisco and Cleveland need to make news and find outside help because they’re at the bottom of the standings. There are exceptions (the 2016 New York Giants come to mind) but the correlation between free agent spending and wins is generally not a positive one.

Atlanta seems to be emulating the way some of the league’s better-run franchises have operated recently in the salary cap era. Teams like Green Bay and Seattle have stayed competitive in the NFC over the long run because they’ve built primarily through the draft and avoided big-name signings. Quinn saw the plan work up close with the Seahawks and appears to be following the same model.

If you find yourself feeling anxious because Atlanta has yet to make a splash, take comfort in the fact they know what they’re doing.

http://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/2017/03/11/4-reasons-the-falcons-are-being-so-quiet-early-in-free-agency/

 

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How about most teams that are good don't typically spend big bucks on big name dudes every year without consideration of fit, chemistry, or scheme.

Panthers been following that every year. One could argue our FAs being brought in are taking hometown discounts (aside Matt Kalil) at good prices, and have been in our system before even for this year where we actually do stuff early for the first time ever.

There's a reason the Jaguars and Browns continually suck year after year signing guys, then proceeding to be a dumpster fire the following season.

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Reason #5: Because we are quiet almost every year. We added Mack and Sanu last year to fill the craters on our roster but we typically do not make big splashes for the sake of doing something. I'm less concerned about adding big names than I am to see who Quinn feels is ready to play a bigger role in the Brotherhood than he's played to date. Coach has a unique eye for players with attributes that fit his vision. 

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Falcons fans last season:

The Falcons aren't making enough/big enough moves.

I'm dissapointed in this offseason.

This roster is worse than last year's.

No way we win as many games as last year.

 

Fast forward to the end of the season: We make it all the way to the SB.

 

Falcons fans this season:

The Falcons aren't making enough/big enough moves...

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Ok #4 "Free Agency Doesn't Work" is a load of BS lol

It doesn't work for people who don't know what they are doing.

Worked out well for Denver when they brought in Ware, Talib, TJ Ward, Emmanuel Sanders, Peyton Manning etc.

Worked out well for Seattle when they brought in Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett who are two huge pieces on their defense. Especially Bennett. 

Worked out well for the Giants who brought in Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins in last years offseason. 

It most definitely works if you know what you are doing. Having said that, I don't mind our moves. Inking Tru, Ryan, and Freeman are more important to me. 

 

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15 minutes ago, hjerry said:

Falcons fans last season:

The Falcons aren't making enough/big enough moves.

I'm dissapointed in this offseason.

This roster is worse than last year's.

No way we win as many games as last year.

 

Fast forward to the end of the season: We make it all the way to the SB.

 

Falcons fans this season:

The Falcons aren't making enough/big enough moves...

It's amazing, the team goes to the super bowl and is stacked with talent from the last 2 DRAFTS, and we are criticizing the front office 3 days into free agency after doing a GREAT job the last 2 seasons. 

sonnyjim and Ezekiel 25:17 like this

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54 minutes ago, Clark Kent™ said:

Ok #4 "Free Agency Doesn't Work" is a load of BS lol

It doesn't work for people who don't know what they are doing.

Worked out well for Denver when they brought in Ware, Talib, TJ Ward, Emmanuel Sanders, Peyton Manning etc.

Worked out well for Seattle when they brought in Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett who are two huge pieces on their defense. Especially Bennett. 

Worked out well for the Giants who brought in Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins in last years offseason. 

It most definitely works if you know what you are doing. Having said that, I don't mind our moves. Inking Tru, Ryan, and Freeman are more important to me. 

 

this section isn't 'BS', and it wasn't implying to not sign ANY free agents, it said clearly " it’s not to say teams should avoid signing free agents entirely. 

Just last offseason Atlanta landed a few gems in Alex Mack, Taylor Gabriel and Mohamed Sanu. New England and Denver have also played the market well in recent years, picking up contributors at bargain prices.

 

The point is the teams that are making huge headlines during the tampering period and in the first few days are usually the most desperate ones....... but the correlation between free agent spending and wins is generally not a positive one. "

the writer didn't say anywhere in there to avoid it at all costs, but was inferring that fans who expect to build a great team that will win a lot of games through free agency aren't going to see it work that way. Just ask Dallas fans and Jerry Jones from a few years back.....

 

Ezekiel 25:17 and Kung-Pow like this

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12 minutes ago, papachaz said:

this section isn't 'BS', and it wasn't implying to not sign ANY free agents, it said clearly " it’s not to say teams should avoid signing free agents entirely. 

Just last offseason Atlanta landed a few gems in Alex Mack, Taylor Gabriel and Mohamed Sanu. New England and Denver have also played the market well in recent years, picking up contributors at bargain prices.

 

The point is the teams that are making huge headlines during the tampering period and in the first few days are usually the most desperate ones....... but the correlation between free agent spending and wins is generally not a positive one. "

the writer didn't say anywhere in there to avoid it at all costs, but was inferring that fans who expect to build a great team that will win a lot of games through free agency aren't going to see it work that way. Just ask Dallas fans and Jerry Jones from a few years back.....

 

It is 'BS' when you title it "Free Agency Doesn't Work". And I never said the writer said to avoid free agency at all cost. His title does somewhat imply that to some people though. You can't title something like that when that is completely false. 

Free Agency works just fine if you know what you are doing, and you are stable at the QB position. 

 

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1 hour ago, Clark Kent™ said:

Ok #4 "Free Agency Doesn't Work" is a load of BS lol

It doesn't work for people who don't know what they are doing.

Worked out well for Denver when they brought in Ware, Talib, TJ Ward, Emmanuel Sanders, Peyton Manning etc.

Worked out well for Seattle when they brought in Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett who are two huge pieces on their defense. Especially Bennett. 

Worked out well for the Giants who brought in Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins in last years offseason. 

It most definitely works if you know what you are doing. Having said that, I don't mind our moves. Inking Tru, Ryan, and Freeman are more important to me. 

 

Yeah this notion that free agency doesn't work is a crock. See Mack, Sanu, Gabriel, Clayborn, Tamme, Schraeder, Freeney, Shelby, Upshaw, Dimarco, Bryant, Robinson, Poole, Reed, Reynolds, Spoon, Wheeler, you name it.

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14 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1970 said:

Yeah this notion that free agency doesn't work is a crock. See Mack, Sanu, Gabriel, Clayborn, Tamme, Schraeder, Freeney, Shelby, Upshaw, Dimarco, Bryant, Robinson, Poole, Reed, Reynolds, Spoon, Wheeler, you name it.

TD's been doing pretty well huh?

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1 minute ago, UnrealfalcoN said:

TD's been doing pretty well huh?

LMAO. Quinn, Pioli and the revamped scouting department with two GMs have been doing well. Dimi sucked monkey balls for years and led us to an 18-30 collapse.

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4 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1970 said:

LMAO. Quinn, Pioli and the revamped scouting department with two GMs have been doing well. Dimi sucked monkey balls for years and led us to an 18-30 collapse.

I think the writer is talking about building thru FA vs building thru the draft and in that aspect he's right. It's rare that you build a winner thru FA. Most successful teams build thru the draft. This does not mean they don't sign FA's. Everybody does but the nucleus of the team was drafted. 

Falconsfan567 likes this

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1 minute ago, TheFatboi said:

I think the writer is talking about building thru FA vs building thru the draft and in that aspect he's right. It's rare that you build a winner thru FA. Most successful teams build thru the draft. This does not mean they don't sign FA's. Everybody does but the nucleus of the team was drafted. 

You build thru the draft, free agency and trades.

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6 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1970 said:

LMAO. Quinn, Pioli and the revamped scouting department with two GMs have been doing well. Dimi sucked monkey balls for years and led us to an 18-30 collapse.

In all fairness to Dimi, it seems he catered to what his coach wanted. I think that is obvious. And Quinn is a **** of a lot better talent evaluator than Mike Smith. Also, I think Quinn has a much better idea of what he is looking at for each position where it seems Smitty wasn't as specific. This, I think is the difference.

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4 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1970 said:

You build thru the draft, free agency and trades.

You build thru the draft. Trades and FA are fillers. You can't build a team with other ppl's players. You have to have a nucleus that came from the draft. That's why you had dynasties of the past. That's why NE stays good, GB stays good, and with Quinn giving TD a clear cut vision if what he wants we will stay good. FA rounds out the edges. You don't build thru FA. You add thru FA

vitaman likes this

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4 minutes ago, mike11571 said:

In all fairness to Dimi, it seems he catered to what his coach wanted. I think that is obvious. And Quinn is a **** of a lot better talent evaluator than Mike Smith. Also, I think Quinn has a much better idea of what he is looking at for each position where it seems Smitty wasn't as specific. This, I think is the difference.

I've tried to explain this to TD detractors time and time again. Save your breath. I saw TD say Quinn gave him and Scott a blueprint of what he wants in players at certain positions. But I also said ifvthe team drafts differeny under Quinn then you'll know that the GM was giving his coach what he wanted per his vision. This stuff isn't rocket science. 

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3 minutes ago, TheFatboi said:

You build thru the draft. Trades and FA are fillers. 

Franchise best offense built with free agent OC, RG, RT, WR2, WR3, TE and FB. LG acquired in a trade.

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5 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1970 said:

Franchise best offense built with free agent OC, RG, RT, WR2, WR3, TE and FB. LG acquired in a trade.

That's addition. That's not building. I'll bet you every dollar you have in your pocket that we have more drafted players starting than FA or traded for?? You down?? I got 5k on it. Exchange PayPal info or bank Info or however you want it. 

 

My point is if your team had more FA's starting then drafted players chances are you suck. FA is adding to what you're building. PERIOD!! There must be a foundation. Without a foundation the roof will fall in. 

 

Show me a  team that stays great from not building thru the draft but FA and trading more instead and ill show you the Washington redskins with Deion and every big FA that was on the market. 

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3 minutes ago, TheFatboi said:

I've tried to explain this to TD detractors time and time again. Save your breath. I saw TD say Quinn gave him and Scott a blueprint of what he wants in players at certain positions. But I also said ifvthe team drafts differeny under Quinn then you'll know that the GM was giving his coach what he wanted per his vision. This stuff isn't rocket science. 

OK so Ryan, Julio, Trufant, Alford, Freeman, Matthews, Bryant, Allen, Spoon, Dimarco, Hageman and Lolo were from the Smitty blueprint. OK. Got it.

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6 minutes ago, TheFatboi said:

That's addition. That's not building. I'll bet you every dollar you have in your pocket that we have more drafted players starting than FA or traded for?? You down?? I got 5k on it. Exchange PayPal info or bank Info or however you want it. 

 

My point is if your team had more FA's starting then drafted players chances are you suck. FA is adding to what you're building. PERIOD!! There must be a foundation. Without a foundation the roof will fall in. 

 

Show me a  team that stays great from not building thru the draft but FA and trading more instead and ill show you the Washington redskins with Deion and every big FA that was on the market. 

There were seven or eight free agent "fillers" on that offense bro. Looks like free agency played a heavy role.

The four draft picks Ryan, Julio, Free and Matthews were from the Smitty "blueprint". LMAO.

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Posted (edited)

14 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1970 said:

OK so Ryan, Julio, Trufant, Alford, Freeman, Matthews, Bryant, Allen, Spoon, Dimarco, Hageman and Lolo were from the Smitty blueprint. OK. Got it.

That's from how many years?? While Quinn has gotten us 9 atleast vs. Smitty's 12 in what?? 3 years?? Vs Smitty's 5?? 6?? 

Edited by Yo_Lover

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8 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1970 said:

There were seven or eight free agent "fillers" on that offense bro. Looks like free agency played a heavy role.

The four draft picks Ryan, Julio, Free and Matthews were from the Smitty "blueprint". LMAO.

Draft: Ryan, Julio, Free, Teco, Hoop, Matthews, Schrader, Hardy (yes I'm counting UDFA as draft guys since we had no idea what we were getting) 8 guys

FA: Mack, Chester, Gabriel, Tamme 4 guys 

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