Posted: 6:30 am Monday, March 10th, 2014

Falcons are targeting linemen in free agency 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH — The legalized tampering period started Saturday at 4 p.m. and agents around the league were giddy.

With an increase in the salary cap from $123 million to $133 million, the agents are expecting more robust deals this season.

Defensive end Red Bryant (above in video from the Super Bowl) landed a deal with Jacksonville after being released by Seattle.

“History tells you that there will be more deals out there for big money than there were last year,” said ESPN analyst Bill Polian, a former general manager and six-time winner of the executive of the year award. “The biggest impact may come — and I underline the word may – with the so-called middle class. Last year, a lot of those fellas got one and two-year deals.

“Cliff Avril being the one that stands out in my mind. They got one or two-year deals … at mediocre money. I would think that some of those fellas will be able to get a little bit longer deals. Whether if the money goes up, we shall see. But the fact of the matter is that with more money in the market, you’d hope that it would go to the middle class. We’ll find out.”

For the Falcons, it will be all about the trench warfare. Look for them to address both lines as general manager Thomas Dimitroff has repeatedly stated this offseason. There’s one report linking the Falcons to Kansas City guard Jon Asamoah.

He was drafted by Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli, who was the Chiefs’ general manager in 2010.  Asamoah, 6-foot-4, 304 pounds, was taken in the third round (68th overall).

Asamoah, who turns 26 in July, is represented by Joe Panos

Also, the Falcons have been linked to Carolina safety Mike Mitchell and Miami defensive tackle Paul Soliai.

Restricted free agent Robert McClain has been tendered at $1,431 million.

Below are the 2014 tender amounts.

–$1,431,000 for Right of First Refusal (ROFR) only

–$1,431,000 for original draft choice compensation + ROFR

–$2,187,000 for 2nd round draft choice compensation + ROFR

–$3,113,000 for 1st round draft choice compensation + ROFR of First Refusal (ROFR) only

Nothing has come out of the Jairus Byrd camp, but Aaron Williams went on with Alex Marvez and Phil Savage NFL Radio on SiriusXM Sports  and said he hopes Byrd re-signs with the Bills.

The free agents must be system fits for the Falcons.

“Football is not a seamless transition,” Polian said. “Systems change and people have a difficult time adjusting to begin with and then if you have a system change or a technique change, it’s even worse. … It may take him a year to adjust and that that’s a year that you’ve paid pretty big money for. That’s the other danger.”

The Falcons have a hole at right guard that Asamoah could fill.

“There are some holes on your club that you just have to fill,” Polian said.

The Falcons will try not to over pay in free agency.

“Free agency is not free,” Polian said. “It cost things that you never get back, time and money. So, when you have a good team. …and when you have a good personnel department that drafts well. … then It behooves you to be restrained in free agency because you need the money to sign your own players and to be in position to make very, very good judgments on a few players in free agency.”

Who the Falcons sign in free agency could tip off the direction they’ll go in the NFL draft, which is set for May 8-10.

“There will be some signings that will take place right out of the box,” Polian said. “They are usually the big ones, then (free agency) settles down. Then (free agency) sort of grinds along. Teams become more selective.”

98 comments
Magumbo
Magumbo

Rolando McClain!  A great pick for someone who has put a lot of effort into turning their life around and a great linebacker!  Should be able to sign him cheap>

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

Getting O lineman in free agency and moving down to draft Clowney would be yet another HUGE mistake by our GM.   The first 2 were letting Abraham go, and not trading Gonzales for a extra pick.  

Best move... sign defensive players in FA... and find a way to draft Jake Matthews.  Cant get a better bloodline and work ethic than that!

TG88
TG88

TD has no plan he is winging it. TD is trying to talk like he knows what he is doing??? This is the same GM who last season cut our Best OLman Clabo and Best DLman Abe and then went braindead and signed Deadbeat Sam Baker who had one average season out of 6 to a 6 million a year long term contract!! Now wants our best DE OSI to take a pay cut!! What?  why not ask Deadbeat Baker to take a pay cut????  It dont look to good for us Falcons fans

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

We're landing something from KC.

Too much Pioli at the Branch for that not to happen.

Problem is KC has 4 pending FA's about to get paid.

Asamoah is the weakest if the 4.

Albert, Swartz & Jackson are all superior players.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Asamoah got benched in favor of Geoff Swartz last year.

Should fit in perfectly here.

Dman
Dman

Falcons just resigned OT Mike Johnson to a 1 year deal. Knew that was coming...

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

Bennett off the FA Market....staying with Seattle and he got PAID!

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

We better draft Khalil Mack. He's Von Miller-esque. We're going to be a base 3-4 defense this season and need pass rushing linebackers. The best we have right now is Kroy Biermann? Um no.

Dman
Dman

According to SI.com, the Falcons are targeting the following free agents;

OG Jon Asamoah (KC)

DB Champ Bailey (Denver)

S Mike Mitchel (Carolina)

DE Michael Johnson (Cincy)

DT Randy Starks (Miami)

Just Rumors but interesting...

JerryMcCrary
JerryMcCrary

falcons better hurry up and sign a DE....

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

I'm just waiting for them to use the 6th overall pick of the draft on a 5'7" corner from Rhode Island State Community College..

Barves_Loss_Agian
Barves_Loss_Agian

Going aftre OL in Fa culd mean they want 2 drat Johnny Fottbal........

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

LT: Sam Baker

LG: Justin Blalock

 C: Joe Hawley (draft a center in the draft somewhere)

 RG: Jon Asamoah

 RT: ?


Do we draft Greg Robinson/Jake Matthews to play right tackle and groom him to eventually play left tackle? The right side of our O-line needs major improvement at both guard and tackle. And I think we could use an upgrade at center as well but I think we'll stick with Hawley this season. He proved to be tougher than Konz although if Konz can get stronger he can compete for the spot. 


All I know is that this O-line needs a major overhaul. I hope we get the right pieces in place and under better coaching, maybe we'll see a dramatic improvement. Matt Ryan doesn't need all day to throw because he has a quick release. We didn't have a great O-line when we went to the NFC title game in 2012. But last season's O-line was a catastrophe. That can't happen again.

slydawg
slydawg

Randy Starks, Michael Bennett, Mike Mitchell, and Jon Asamoah. Asamoah will command the most money. Re-signing Babineaux will be easier cause he can be tendered.

Intruder
Intruder

Interesting. The Falcons need a pass rush and the bloggers overwhelmingly voted for a safety. 

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

Make fiscally-sound moves to address ALL the needs during free agency.  Then, when the draft comes around, we can take the best player available at #6 and not have to reach or trade up.


For instance, sign a top lineman on both sides of the ball (e.g., Asamoah and Soliai) and then a couple more mid-level guys to round out depth.  This way, we will have upgraded our worst areas and can take the biggest difference-maker left at #6.

FalconJames
FalconJames

The Falcons need to target the best free agent in the draft.  If that is Richardson, than it is Richardson. If Richardson if off the board, then we may need to settle with Byrd.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@BigCrimson75  

I hope we forget FA this year and try to draft good/great linemen , this year's FA class is very weak, and I'd rather rather try to win like Seattle with young players rather than trusting TD with a weak FA class.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@BigCrimson75  He didn't get "benched" because of poor performance however. He got injured and Schwartz then took over. It's not like he was just not playing well. He's a good player dude.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@Dman  

More proof that Dimitroff needs to be fired, it was clearly time to cut bait with Mike Johnson.

RBI
RBI

@DawgGoneIt Falcons are NOT going to be a base 3-4 Defense this season.  As long as Mike Smith is the Head Coach, the Falcons will be a base 4-3 D.  Falcons may employ a 3-4 look sometimes, but they are DEFINITELY a 4-3 base D.


Seems you really know a lot about football.  Please keep posting, we need a good laugh.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Actually the best is Osi.

#71 doesn't have 2 great SB performances under his collar.

JSSN
JSSN

@DawgGoneIt  

Say "Kroy Biermann" a little louder so you can get Big Crimson 75 in a lather!

Dman
Dman

1 out of 5 is why they call them rumors...

stevehere
stevehere

That would be funny if it wasn't so potentially tragic

doolie1
doolie1

@DawgGoneIt Greg Robinson or Jake Mathews from day one would be so far superior to Sam Baker that its not even funny and of course they would need a few years to really settle into the position.

TheRealJay
TheRealJay

@slydawg Bennett certainly isn't coming here and he's going to make way more than Asamoah.

slydawg
slydawg

Paul Soliai wouldn't be bad either. Starks and/or Soliai would be a dream matchup. 

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

Also, safety IS a need but not a major one.  We could address that position, as well as linebacker and running back (other needs) in the draft.


Linemen on both sides are number one concerns right now, which is why we need to sign some good ones in free agency so we're not left without a date come draft time.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@MikeBanning @BigCrimson75  How can you simply "forget" free agency with nearly $30 million in cap space to work with once everyone is off the books? You're a moron if you expect ALL ROOKIES to come in and perform like seasoned vets and help turn this team around. Since Dimitroff has been here, every off-season he's always made a couple signings through FA and those were signings coming off good-great seasons! Last year was a catastrophe so what do you expect him to do this year?

Dman
Dman

And why say fire Thomas. If you had 5 great years at work and one bad year that could easily be explained (11 injured starters out of 22), would you be fired? No... TD has done a great job putting this team together. I have all the confidence in the world that he will get the right pieces to have another winning season this year and beyond. His track record shows that.

Dman
Dman

@ MikeBanning

No way, I'm sure we got him for cheap and he did a good job when he played before his preseason injury last season. The guy is an athlete at 6'6" and 304 pounds. We drafted him in the third round three years ago out of Alabama. The dude can play, he will be some much needed depth if we get a couple of free agents.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@BigCrimson75  Sure, but how many times has Osi stood up at OLB in his career? Not many, if ever. 

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

I don't know why people concern themselves with our future at LT!

Baker just completed glorious year #1 of 6!!

He's not going anywhere.....especially to the right side of our Line.

BigAlHeBDMan
BigAlHeBDMan

FalconJames is one of those "fans" who knows not and knows not that he knows not.

JSSN
JSSN

@DawgGoneIt

He had no cap room (goodbye Abraham) and he felt Turner was spent. That 's a change of necessity , not choice. Blank should have been "impatient" in 2011, this is the off-season where prudence and actual team building is needed.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@JSSN  No I mean like the Falcons as a team coming off a good season. If he's willing to splash in FA after going 13-3 then just imagine what he'd do coming off a 4-12 season. Arthur Blank is an impatient man. You can bet he's in both ears of Dimitroff and Smith.

JSSN
JSSN

 Osi was coming off a good year?

Dman
Dman

See, we are correcting the lines and the depth problem. Great to be a Falcon fan today...

Dman
Dman

We do have a depth problem that we should be able to correct this off season starting today...

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@Dman  

The one bad year was primarily due to TD's silly move of trading away so many draft picks for a WR (Julio Jones), if we don't make that draft pick we probably would not have had the depth issues  that killed us last season.

JSSN
JSSN

@Dman  

I spoke too soon! He hasn't been the "Mike Johnson" you're describing since the day he left Alabama! Big Crimson 75 broke his situation down perfectly (I'm complimenting him way too much these days). I gave a little benefit of doubt last year. Then he went all Sam Baker and got himself crushed in drills! SMDH, the Falcons :-(

Dman
Dman

Trueblood was a desperate fillin who was past his prime. Johnson is young and was good before his injury. We will see what he is like this coming year. Worth the try...

JSSN
JSSN

@Dman  

You got Trueblood cheap too, just sayin'!