Ranking the Atlanta Falcons' Best Remaining Free Agency Options

Scott CarasikContributor IIMarch 16, 2014

Ranking the Atlanta Falcons' Best Remaining Free Agency Options

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    The Falcons were big spenders early in free agency with their signings of Jon Asamoah, Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson to help solidify the interior of their defensive and offensive lines. However, there are still some guys out there who could easily help add depth to a team that needs it.

    They need to continue shoring up depth on both of their lines, in their receiving corps and even in the defensive backfield. The Falcons still has over $13 million in cap space according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure, so bringing in that depth should be very easy for them to do.

5. TE Jermichael Finley

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    Jermichael Finley is the best option in free agency to replace Tony Gonzalez. However, Finley's injury history is extremely scary. Knee, shoulder and neck injuries are all troubling concerns when looking for a long-term replacement for a guy who never missed one game in his entire five years with the Falcons.

    Finley is extremely talented as a receiver but has trouble as a blocker. Atlanta rarely used Gonzalez in line in 2013, but it should be looking for more of an all-around tight end if it wants to improve its outside running game.

    Finley would be a good fit for the Falcons in the passing game if he's completely healthy, though. Finley can stretch the seam better than Gonzalez ever could in the past five seasons. Finley also could be the same kind of red-zone threat.

4. WR Lance Moore

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    Harry Douglas has been about as mediocre as any starting receiver in the NFL could have been in 2013. Sure, he gave the Falcons 1,000 yards in 2013, but it only came because he was the highest targeted receiver on the team with 126 targets.

    That same number was good for 20th in the NFL. The only receiver to see that many targets and not break 1,000 yards was Mike Wallace of the Dolphins. Wallace has the same issues that Douglas has in that he doesn't fight for the ball and drops his fair share of passes.

    When receivers don't fight for the ball, it leads to quarterbacks throwing a lot of interceptions their way. This is where Lance Moore becomes a more legitimate option. He fights for the ball, can create yards after the catch and most importantly, he won't fall down on clutch receptions in NFC title games.

3. DE Jared Allen

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    Atlanta needs a great pass-rusher to lead its defensive unit in both 4-3 and 3-4 sets. Jared Allen is the best pass-rusher left on the market. He averaged 14.5 sacks over the past seven years and has 128.5 career sacks to go along with 29 forced fumbles.

    Allen has never played in the 3-4 before, but he has the physical tools to be very effective as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in those sets. However, the average 3-4 outside linebacker rarely drops back into coverage except for some very short zones.

    So Atlanta could work Allen into its multiple formation scheme that Mike Nolan has devised. He could play a similar role to what John Abraham played in 2012. The cap comes into question here, but the Falcons could cut Osi Umenyiora or Kroy Biermann to offset the cap hit.

     

2. S Chris Clemons

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    Thomas DeCoud was awful in 2013. He wasn't making plays in coverage. However, he was more than likely cut because he wasn't an effective tackler in run defense. DeCoud made a Pro Bowl in 2012 because he made plays on the ball that he didn't in 2013.

    Atlanta needs a coverage safety who understands how to make plays on the ball. That's where former Miami Dolphins and Clemson Tigers safety Chris Clemons comes into play. He was one of the best coverage safeties in the NFL in 2013.

    In coverage, his zone or man was targeted just 21 times over 649 coverage snaps. He allowed just 11 catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns in coverage. Unfortunately, he doesn't have great hands to intercept a ton of passes, but that's the only real flaw in his game.

     

1. CB/S Champ Bailey

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    Champ Bailey should be a Falcon. He should have been one back in 2004 when Washington traded him and a second-round pick to Denver for Clinton Portis. Ten years later, the Falcons should still bring him in to compete at safety and be depth at cornerback. 

    Bailey would also be an ideal veteran leader who could impart his wisdom into a young secondary that features two corners who are second-year players and a nickel that could be departing because of an original round restricted free-agent tender.

    At this point in his career, Bailey shouldn't expect to get a ton of money on the market. He should look for the best situation that helps him play another year or two while also allowing him to have a shot at a title. If he wants to do that, coming home to Atlanta should be at the top of his list.

     

    All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.

    Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.