Atlanta Falcons: Why Are the Birds Not in the Free Agency Mix?
"Frankly, my dear..."
The line is as timeless as the movie that spawned it.
When Clark Gable spoke these words as Rhett Butler, he was telling Scarlett and to the world, "I just don't care. You are not worth the trouble anymore."
Are the Atlanta Falcons taking the same attitude to this year's free agency?
As I look down the list of signed players and the potential suitors of players yet to be signed, I notice a glaring fact. Atlanta is nowhere to be found on anyone's radar.
Sure, Atlanta signed Lofa Tatupu—the former USC and Seattle Seahawks linebacker who was a force in college and is a three-time Pro Bowl selection—to help their linebacker core, but his recent years' dip in play and year-long absence from football due to a knee injury do not make fans feel much more confident in the linebackers.
Also hurting the team is the inability to sign veteran middle linebacker Curtis Lofton to a deal.
It would seem that with so many quality free agents to fill the holes that Atlanta has, a move would be inevitable. Sadly, the Falcons seem to be convinced that they can either succeed with what they have or that they can build through the (limited) draft picks they have left after last year's trade up to get Julio Jones.
The problem with this thinking is that you are in a division that is quickly improving. Cam Newton showed signs of greatness last season and the Panthers are looking to continue to build around their franchise quarterback.
Tampa Bay has vastly improved with the signings of Vincent Jackson and Eric Wright, and despite the recent "Bounty-Gate" scandal, New Orleans is always going to be a tough out as long as they keep quarterback Drew Brees happy (which, as of late, is not looking too good).
The NFC South is not going to be a cake walk to the playoffs this year, and Atlanta needs to improve on a good roster to stay in the mix.
So who is still out there? After a contract-fueled first few days of free agency, who could the Falcons try to broker a deal with?
First, of course, is Mario Williams. He would be a bank-breaker considering that Buffalo has promised to offer him the world in exchange for his services, but the deal has not been signed. There is still time to swoop in and grab a great defensive player who can be used at multiple positions.
Michael Bush would be a great complement to Michael Turner. The league has turned to a two-back model, and no offense to Jacquizz Rodgers, but I would feel better about the running back situation if Bush were sharing carries and filling in when Turner is injured.
Bush showed that he can either be a great complement or carry the load if needed in Oakland, and for the right price he could be part of a great two-headed monster combination in Atlanta.
I understand that this is just my opinion and that the Falcons front office has much more insight into the world of professional football that I could even dream (how else can you explain the signing of OC Dirk Koetter?), but as someone that lives in Atlanta and has suffered through the past disappointments and present playoff-win drought, I just want to see my hometown team do better.
Oh well Atlanta, "We can think about it tomorrow... for tomorrow is another day"
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