Atlanta Falcons Roster Moves Looming: Some Good and Some Bad

Frank SpartiCorrespondent IIJanuary 25, 2012

Owner Arthur Blank and Head Coach Mike Smith
Owner Arthur Blank and Head Coach Mike SmithKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Earlier in January, Falcons owner Arthur Blank made it clear that changes to player personnel would be made. Each position would be evaluated and no player was exempt from losing his job.

These are strong words and it will be interesting to see how this roster shake up will be handled.

One of the benefits of having a new offensive coordinator and a new defensive coordinator is that there are no emotional ties to players that are not performing well enough. This will allow a better evaluation of the teams needs.

However, this cold evaluation could lead to several surprises in roster moves.

There are also the issues of free agency and payroll cap limitations. I am not an expert on the NFL cap but it appears the Falcons are spending just under $100 million in 2012 and the cap is at least $120 million.

My guess is that two premium free agents could be acquired for the team at this level. That leads me to speculate that some players will be cut or not re-signed in order to add cap space for more free agents to upgrade the roster.

Here is my list of moves that could be made.

Akeem Dent replacing Mike Peterson, who is 35 years old and smaller than Dent by 13 pounds. Dent was recognized for his special teams play in 2011.

Blank and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff
Blank and General Manager Thomas DimitroffKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Ovie Mughelli is 31 years old and coming off a major injury. Mughelli was considered one of the best at what he does, but he may have played his last game as a Falcon. His replacement could be Mike Cox who is 26 years old or someone found in the draft.

Dunta Robinson never lived up to expectations with only two interceptions in 2011. The Falcons actually have a great prospect on the roster in Darrin Walls who is bigger than Robinson and very athletic. Walls had one interception in limited play.

Thomas DeCoud is 29 pounds lighter that William Moore. DeCoud did have four interceptions, but he dropped another four. In addition, DeCoud avoided hits toward the end of the season and I do not think this bodes well for his future with the Falcons. DeCoud's replacement will have to come in the draft or free agency.

There is talk that Michael Turner should go according to, but he had a much better yards per attempt than any running back on the team at 4.5. His season total was 1340 yards. Yes, there is wear and tear, but he is still great and an improved offensive line will help him. Jason Snelling will probably be the one to leave.

Sam Baker will probably be given a chance to compete, but someone besides Will Svitek who is 30 years old will be brought in. It will be interesting to see if Baker is improved post injury recovery.

Chris Redman will be challenged again by John Parker Wilson. This is a toss up and either could be sent packing.

There are several more questions like John Abraham and Eric Weems.

It will be interesting to see how the new coaches see the players listed above. I look for several surprises and some substantial upgrades in 2012.