Posted: 12:34 pm Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Here’s the deal on the Thomas DeCoud dilemma 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

110801 Flowery Branch - Atlanta Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud flies to block a ball in a simulated punt drill during the first padded practice at training camp in Flowery Branch on Monday, August 1, 2011. His days with the team could be numbered.    Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

110801 Flowery Branch – Atlanta Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud flies to block a ball in a simulated punt drill during the first padded practice at training camp in Flowery Branch on Monday, August 1, 2011. His days with the team could be numbered. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Safety Thomas DeCoud is a member of the Atlanta Falcons. You know, today.

He may be released in the near future.

He may not be released in the near future.

When the team was asked to clarify his status they stood by their longstanding policy not to address “rumors.”

There is a lot of speculation surrounding DeCoud because of the dip in his play last season. We’ve been reporting since January that he was a potential salary cap casualty.

The Falcons could elect to part ways with cornerback Asante Samuel (saving $4.5 million), safety Thomas DeCoud ($4.2 million), running back Steven Jackson ($3 million), linebacker Stephen Nicholas ($3 million) and defensive end Osi Umenyiora ($3.5 million).

General manager Thomas Dimitroff calls them “salary-cap casualties,” and it’s a league-wide practice. Here’s what he had to say after the team released Michael Turner, Dunta Robinson and John Abraham last season on March 1.

“I believe in the NFL today, so-called cap casualties are an issue for every team unless you’re at the top of the heap with $30 million to $40 million dollars available,” he said. “It’s something that we will get into as we continue to analyze and re-evaluate this roster as it stands.”

The Falcons have already cut veterans Asante Samuel, Stephen Nicholas and Garrett Reynolds. Jackson and Umenyiora are returned although coach Mike Smith said, “never, say never” when asked about Jackson at the combine.

They have made the previous moves because they have identifiable replacements.

Rookie Robert Alford passed his cornerback test last season and will enter next season as the incumbent at left cornerback.

Undrafted rookie linebackers Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow led the team in tackles last season and made Nicholas expendable.

When the Falcons signed right guard/right tackle Gabe Carimi, Reynolds was expendable.

The Falcons can start talking to free agents on March 8 and will try to upgrade the free safety position. A couple of potential unrestricted free candidates are Buffalo’s Jairus Byrd and New Orleans’ Malcolm Jenkins. The bidding may get high as Buffalo wants to keep Byrd. Also, the Eagles are reportedly interested in Jenkins, the former Ohio State standout. The team is not happy with former Detroit safety Louis Delmas’ injury history.

Free agency starts on March 11.

A major part of DeCoud’s contract becomes guaranteed on March 15.

So, the Falcons have between March 8 and March 15 to land one of the free agent free safeties. If they are successful, DeCoud will likely become the next salary cap casualty.

If they don’t land one of the free safeties, there is the option of keeping DeCoud and drafting his eventual replacement. There is no a potential replacement on the roster after Zeke Motta suffered a neck injury last season.

DeCoud, 28, would save the Falcons $3 million (which would be shifted to the new safety).

116 comments
CheFalconZay
CheFalconZay

I didn't know that Motta had a neck injury. We may need a new strength and conditioning coach. Every player that we draft that has even the SLIGHTEST bit of potential always seems to be bit by the injury bug. I've never seen so many injuries to players who could make an immediate impact in my life. And it's always early in their careers. That in itself could be the shot to their confidence coming into the league that we DON'T need. That being said. I guess Jarius Byrd it is. Though I still believe Charles Woodson could bring something to the table for a cheaper price, allowing us to spend more along both lines. Lord knows we need some hogs on one side, and beasts on the other. (Woodson is still a free agent, right?)

MatthewCenteno
MatthewCenteno

I think they will wait and see if an upgrade can be found in free agency before making a decision. If we could get Jairus Byrd, I would cut him in a heartbeat.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

"Undrafted rookie linebackers Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow led the team in tackles last season and made Nicholas expendable."

Nicholas made Nicholas expendable. Bartu and Worrilow occupied vacated positions and in turn will be expendable based on what we saw last year.

notPlanB
notPlanB

Snelling had a better yds per carry than both S Jax & Quizz. He is a great receiver and doesn't have that much wear on him. I don't understand why MS won't give him a chance. Same as with A Smith. Five carries for 145 (a 29 yards per carry). MS should have played him the entire Washington game to see if he was a fluke or fumbler. If he was, we would have lost the game and had the #2 pick instead of #6. Now we know nothing about A Smith. MS was more interested in saving his job than doing what was best for the Falcons.

With MR hitting our cap about $8 mill higher  in 2014, we need to save all we can for FA's. Why not let S Jax go and use Snelling? That would be one position with savings rather than paying out and I believe would be fine.

BigHittas
BigHittas

Let DaCoupe hit the road! He couldn't find a job in the NFL anywhere else. Dimitroff let your pride and pick go, he didn't work out!

28 no more!

Diddler-on-the-Roof
Diddler-on-the-Roof

DeCoud sucks.  He is simply terrible and pretty much has been the whole time he's been on the Falcons.  Get rid of this bum

Susan89
Susan89

The Flucants need to get rid of Matty Ice.  He is over rated.  You all may need to consider hiring someone from a Pee Wee football team...Oops...they are too young.  They do play much better than your sorry team though..LMAO!!!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Susan89
Susan89

I'm certain the Saints will keep Malcolm Jenkins.  If they don't, I'm even more positive he will not sign up with the Atlanta Fluncants!

notPlanB
notPlanB

I don't understand why Motta having a neck injury last year that he isn't available this year. How long does that injury last?

TomGaff
TomGaff

I know the rookie S, Zeke Motta, can hit with force, but can he cover passes decently?

gfw
gfw

DeCoud has always seemed like a nice guy, a good guy.  But really, what sticks in my memory is his too often getting beat deep, and his missing tackles he should have made.  I feel real sorry, but this game is about winning, and our talent level in the secondary simply must be upgraded.

k483
k483

Okay, I have a question (which has probably been addressed before somewhere someplace somehow):  If you had to build a team from scratch, where would you start, and where would you put the money, taking into account the average playing career life of particular positions, the evolution of the NFL quarterback, and, how to get paying fans in the seats.  How would you go about it?


Barves_Loss_Agian
Barves_Loss_Agian

Im 4 cuttin Rayan 2. Flacons need 2 do what every the can 2 drat Johnny Fottball. I ben sayin it 4 a log time now. If they dont I will quite bein a fan and stop postin here. 

58Supersports
58Supersports

Put DeCoud, Johnson and Umenyiora  on the road. Falcons can do better. What a joke those three were last year.

Safety was a big problem last year so was OL...what was not a problem?

FalconFan4Life
FalconFan4Life

All great Defensive teams have a great safety.  Falcons may have to draft one...Ha Ha Clinton Dix - UA?   I would rather see ATL draft a franchise LT at 6.  By the second Ha Ha will be gone.  I am not sure how this will turn out.  Shillinger was OK and is Zeke Motta finished?  Maybe with a 3rd round pick and those 2 a decent safety will emerge.  We will probably need to overpay for Byrd if we cut Decoud.


Falcons63
Falcons63

Cardiganboy.....  I would definitely agree Mgmt. swung and missed in 2013.  The decision to release Abraham was a huge mistake.   Claybo was  a calculated risk.  He had a sizeable cap number(I think around 5mil?) for RT in his 30's.  Johnson tears up his ankle, Holmes isn't ready and the rest is history.   He was greatly missed.   I think the Falcons do bring in additions to the oline, but I also believe mgmt. didn't feel the talent on hand was being developed on either the oline or dline.  Enter Cox and Tice.  I think Holmes got thrown to the wolves when Baker went down and he was forced to move to LT in what was essentially his rookie year.  He may yet be salvageable at RT.  I agree with you 100% that the Pioli move shows Blank rightfully questioned decisions that had been made.

     Regarding the cap situation... Spotrac has the Falcons at 12th in available salary cap room out of 32 teams.  That's without releasing a single veteran starter(DeCoud) or restructuring any contracts(White?) which may yet happen.  My point is that some on the blog have the mistaken impression that the Ryan signing has somehow crippled the team for years to come and the team is in salary cap hell.  If you look at the numbers you see that is not the case.  Saints are 28th with an aging roster.  How in the world do they keep Graham long term? 

ColdSplash
ColdSplash

Once again, this idiot GM spends too much time toying with positions on the margin in areas not critical to Improve. Safety is not a problem area on this team. He needs to focus only on these three positions: o-line , o-line, and lastly o-line.

doggoneit
doggoneit

Idiots! just worry about the offensive line nothing else matters!

Harper6472AJC
Harper6472AJC

Let him go and bring in a fundamentally sound and cheaper safety who can tackle. It's a no brainier!

BSNBC
BSNBC

Cut'em loose!

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

I have a simple solution. Cut him. We can finish 4 - 12 without.

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

Malcolm Jenkins?   LOL!  Good luck with that one!   Ever consider that DeCoud failed for the same reason that your team has failed?   Lack of quality coaching and play calling?  Cause that is where your problem is, and guess what, your team will be in last place again come December 2014.

GEAUX  SAINTS!!!!

BigHittas
BigHittas

A Smith would be my starter until he proved otherwise. At the very least he'd be my leading change of pace guy. I have no idea how he catches the ball and that could be a consideration  I suppose.

JSSN
JSSN

@notPlanB  

Snelling is gonna be lucky if he does not start the season on the Suspended List. You still keep forgetting that the last time they increased his work load he promptly got his jaw broken leavinf them without a valuable special team player.

Sorry, but Snelling will never be more than a poor man's Kevin Faulk!

BigHittas
BigHittas

I'm sorry, maybe he could be a waterboy somewhere...my bad!

BigHittas
BigHittas

second grade troll, your drunk mama needs to get you off the computer!

Dman
Dman

Another sAint troll. The coming years will be tough for you guys. It's already started this off season...

JSSN
JSSN

@notPlanB  

Ask Jermichael Finley, these are fusion surgeries! Moreover, ask Peyton Manning and Sterling Sharpe about dead arms and muscle fatigue.

JSSN
JSSN

@k483  

You have the two examples Jacksonville and Carolina. Jacksonville started with a franchise O-line player in Boselli. On the other side, Kerry Collins was picked by Carolina. The first 4 Jacksonville draft was the depth that they parlayed for years till Del Rio and Weaver messed up trying to out gun the Colts. The Panthers after good draft in a half, they spent the latter part of Capers time chasing offensive power. The SF model is build a great defense, then chase a good offense.

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

@Tea-Party-Meber Yeah, I think you're right, the falcan'ts should trade up to get Manzel.  Absolutely.  

GEAUX SAINTS!!!

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

@Falcons63  How do they keep Graham?  Magic.  LOL!  

Let's just say our GM is better at his work than your GM.  

GEAUX SAINTS!!!!

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@ColdSplash you need a cold splash of water to the head if you think safety wasn't a problem..Not with Will Mo but decoud is the worst tackler in the nfl regardless of position.

JSSN
JSSN

@ColdSplash  

"Safety is not a problem area on this team."

Oh, it's a problem! Their inability to climb out the bottom of explosive plays ranking have a great deal to do with the failures of the back end of the secondary. People actively game plan to get at the Falcons safeties including Moore!

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@ColdSplash  I honestly don't know if you watched a Falcon football game last year if you think safety was not an issue! Yes O-line should be the focus but if you believe Thomas DeCoud is the best we can get at FS then you're on crack! You always try to improve every area of your team in the offseason. We need someone who can tackle and hit just as hard as Willy Mo. 

notPlanB
notPlanB

Be nice. We do have other weak areas but OL is the largest of them all.

ucanthandlethedeuce
ucanthandlethedeuce

i guess you didnt see decoud consistently whiffing on tackles. dont care how many ol we get, defense has to tackle and stop somebody!

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@SeenThatB4  Saints haven't won the division in 2 years. Funny how you haven't done anything since being caught for the bounty!

JSSN
JSSN

@BigHittas  

He doesn't, was wide open twice and didn't bring the ball in. Could be worse, he could be Gerald Tinker.

notPlanB
notPlanB

Is that what he has? I watched him play. He got hurt and I have heard no more about him. Do you know his present status. 

Note that we have drafted 3 safeties in the last two drafts. Not so good for TD.

FalconFan4Life
FalconFan4Life

@SeenThatB4 @Falcons63Your GM made 2 great moves.  Hiring Peyton and Signing Brees.  Without those 2 you guys are back to wearing bags on your heads!  GO FALOCONS!!!!

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

@DawgGoneIt Hmmm, well since the unjustified bounty saga, the Saints have repeatedly whipped  your team unmercifully, over and over.  

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@Susan89 ur funny susan, sad but funny... you really must have not a dang thing to do if you are trolling around the coons site.

Barves_Loss_Agian
Barves_Loss_Agian

@Susan89  ONly cuz Tommy Dummytroff keep dratin busts. He aslo sigh a bunch of bust. If it not 4 that we wuld be whuppin UR buts all the time!

Susan89
Susan89

You must also remember that we have a Championship ring.  Do the Fluncant's have a ring?  NOOOOOOOO!  LMAO!!!!  You may refer to the New Orleans Saints as Aints, but you are 1/2 right because the Flucants' CAINT beat us, AINT gonna ever beat us, and AINT gonna ever win the Superbowl. :)

Susan89
Susan89

You mean like the Flucants fairweather fans started doing last season?

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@SeenThatB4 silly little troll, you really must have NOTHING else to do loser.. but please stay on here.  You're worth a good laugh, must be really young to not remember 20 years of aints bag wearers and an EMPTY super stinky dome

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

@Dasdguy & DirtBird91, unjustified, and unproven.   In a word: Bogus.

Trackbacks

  1. […] start this offseason, releasing Asante Samuel, Stephen Nicholas, and Garrett Reynolds. There are also reports that the team could cut Thomas Decoud (to which I reacted like this), Steven Jackson, and Osi […]