John Bazemore/Associated Press
When it comes to building a team well, keeping your own free agents is a huge part of the equation. Atlanta doesn't have any big money guys on the team that are scheduled to leave. Out of the following guys, there's maybe one guy who should get a contract over $2 million a year.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents: WR Kevin Cone, WR Drew Davis
Restricted Free Agent: CB Robert McClain
Unrestricted Free Agents: TE Chase Coffman, OL Mike Johnson, OL Sean Locklear, OL Jeremy Trueblood, OL Joe Hawley, DT Jonathan Babineaux, DT Corey Peters, DT Peria Jerry, LB Omar Gaither, CB Dominique Franks
WRs Kevin Cone and Drew Davis
Since both of these guys are exclusive rights free agents, re-signing them should be easy to do. Because of that, Atlanta could easily keep this pair of special teams aces and backup receivers. They fill roles on the team and, at minimal contracts, are more than worth keeping.
TE Chase Coffman
Yes, he's been a complete draft bust. However, the Falcons would be wise to keep the Joker-style tight end in their offense, as he could play a Brian Finneran circa 2008 role if they need him to. He's got the frame and hands but has a good bit more size and blocking ability needed to be a backup tight end.
OLs Joe Hawley and Mike Johnson
While neither guy has earned a starting role outright, they have both shown enough in four years to get Reynolds-style contracts that would keep them under Falcons control for two seasons. They have also shown enough to compete legitimately for starting jobs in the new offensive line scheme under Tice.
DTs Corey Peters and Jonathan Babineaux
The Falcons have been weak at defensive tackle because they've been playing Babineaux out of position and putting Peria Jerry there. This should stop in 2014 with better defensive ends. With Babineaux and Peters playing their natural spots, they should perform quite a bit better.
CB Robert McClain
He's shown that he's a talented nickel corner in 2012. But in 2013, he had a down year and had a ton of trouble with the larger slot receivers. He did improve his coverage later in the year to where it was in 2012, and he could really give the Falcons a great performance in his contract year.