Grading Every Major Offseason Move for the Atlanta Falcons

Mike Foster@michaelsfosterCorrespondent IJune 26, 2013

Grading Every Major Offseason Move for the Atlanta Falcons

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    Training camp is a month away, and the Atlanta Falcons' first preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals is right around the corner. How wonderfully this offseason has flown past us. 

    It's been an eventful and exciting offseason for Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who went out and made two veteran signings that helped display his high regard for character and experience. 

    Dimitroff also made some interesting decisions in the draft, which has been a staple of his method since working in the offices for the New England Patriots before coming down south.

    And who can not love the Brian Banks story?

    Here's a grade for each major move Comrade has made to this point. 

Releasing Michael Turner, Dunta Robinson, John Abraham

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    Michael Turner had to go. While he will go down as a fan favorite, as well as one of the top rushers in franchise history behind William Andrews and Gerald Riggs, Turner's lack of versatility and signs of wear and tear caught up with him last season.

    Dunta Robinson was a no-brainer to be released due to his contract, which was not being met by his on-field play. 

    Finally, the John Abraham release was peculiar, but many still believe he will be back in a Falcons uniform for a cheaper cap hit before the season begins. 

    Grade: B+

Re-Signed William Moore

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    Of the two Pro Bowl safeties on Atlanta's roster, William Moore is the more stable of the two. His ability to play like a linebacker, as well as erase passes and create turnovers makes him one of the up-and-coming defensive backs in the NFL.

    Moore inked a five-year, $29 million dollar deal with $14 million guaranteed. His cap hit starts at just $2.25 million this season, which is a help. 

    Grade: A

Re-Signed Sam Baker

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    This was huge. Sam Baker had a turnaround season in 2012, going from an apparent bust to the reliable left tackle Atlanta thought it was getting when it pulled him from USC in 2008—the same year Matt Ryan was drafted with the team's first pick.

    Baker credited finally getting healthy as well as a new offseason conditioning program to his success

    With the retiring of Todd McClure, it was crucial to lock up Baker to ensure stability on the offensive line.

    Grade: A+

Signed Steven Jackson

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    Steven Jackson may turn 30 years old this summer, but that age is implicated way too much by skeptical pundits who are opposed to having "old" tailbacks. 

    There's nothing old about Jackson's current body, and his workout routine has already impressed and motivated other players. 

    He will only make $1.75 million this coming season in a three-year deal worth $12 million. 

    For such a good value, Atlanta is getting a player who wants to be here and can greatly enhance the offense thanks to his running game and receiving ability.

    Grade: A

Signed Osi Umenyiora

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    It was curious that Atlanta released a guy like John Abraham, yet went out to get another veteran in Osi Umenyiora. 

    This is another fact that has many believing the Falcons will find a way to bring Abe back, because the Falcons needed defensive end help before letting him go. Umenyiora's signing didn't mean much, but there's no doubt he could be an impact player if he can return to form. 

    Grade: B+

Releasing Tyson Clabo

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    The release of Tyson Clabo was surprising, but it essentially meant two things. 

    One, the freeing cap space meant Dimitroff had some other work to do in terms of signing players. 

    Two, the coaches are obviously confident that either Mike Johnson or Lamar Holmes is ready to start at right tackle, which isn't the most trying position along the offensive line. 

    Grade: B

Signing Brian Banks

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    There may not be a better feel-good story in the NFL than the signing of Brian Banks.

    Banks was exonerated of rape charges that actually landed him in prison for five years, seemingly ruining his football career.

    The former top-recruit and USC commit has a new life with the Falcons, and his character has lit up rooms in Flowery Branch. 

    Fans will enjoy the preseason simply because Banks' production will be a major headline. 

    Grade: A+

NFL Draft

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    There was no surprise with Dimitroff's pick of Desmond Trufant in the first round of the draft. There was a surprise when he double-dipped at cornerback and got Robert Alford out of SE Louisiana. 

    Fans kind of griped at the move, wondering why Dimitroff had not gone after a pass-rusher, but after seeing highlights of third-round pick Malliciah Goodman (aka Sacksquatch), there's obviously method to Comrade's madness. 

    Levine Toilollo, the 6'8" tight end from Stanford, is also a unique and exciting pick. Toilolo, like Tony Gonzalez, played basketball as well as football.

    Safety Kemal Ishmael has impressed with his abilities in team activities. While Thomas DeCoud is a Pro Bowler thanks to his ball-hawking ability, if he can't continue to be five-plus-interception-per-year safety, his unimpressive tackling skills could create a future competition for the other safety spot.

    Grade: B+

     

    Mike Foster is a Featured Columnist for B/R. Follow him on Twitter for Falcons news and analysis!