Posted: 3:04 pm Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

5 free agents and why they would fit the Falcons 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Falcons still have some holes to fill, but are likely to try to address them in the draft and by signing undrafted free agents.

But there are several high profile free agents still out on the market. The major problem is that they are used to making top dollar in the league. (Here’s why defensive end Jared Allen isn’t on this list.)

So, with DeCoud gone, what are they going to do at free safety? CLICK HERE

The Falcons would have to be certain that the new vets would not be disgruntled coming in at a lower salary and determine if they’d be willing to accept smaller roles.

Perhaps, they Falcons could sell them on being the modern era “Over the Hill Gang.”

Here are five and why they would or wouldn’t fit with the Falcons.

Champ Bailey: He would fit nicely if he was give free safety a shot. The Falcons were able to get one season out of Asante Samuel after the Eagles thought he was washed up. Perhaps Bailey, the former UGA star fresh off his first Super Bowl appearance, could help the Falcons for a season while they bring in a young safety they take in the draft (Psst: Washington State’s Deone Bucannon or Vanderbilt’s Kenny Ladler). He could also play inside as the nickel back.

Steve Smith: The Falcons want to get tougher. Smith, pound for pound, is perhaps the toughest player in the league. He could play in the slot in a four wide receiver formations next to Julio Jones or Roddy White, with Douglas in the opposite slot. The Falcons have 80 catches to replace with Tony Gonzalez retired and could do so in four-WRs sets if they signed Smith.

Julius Peppers: Peppers has 119 career sacks and likely hasn’t forgotten how to get to the quarterback. At 34, he could be a designated press rusher opposite of Umenyiora.

Devin Hester: He has returned 13 punts and five kickoffs for touchdowns over his eight seasons with the Chicago Bears. The Falcons’ return game has lacked punch since Eric Weems left in 2011.

Eric Decker: He’s started 44 of 62 NFL games and has caught more than 80 passes in each of the past two seasons. At 6-foot-3, he’d be another big target for Matt Ryan and could be insurance against Julio Jones’ foot injury and for Roddy White, who’ll turn 33 in November.

64 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

The Falcons need to get lucky with their draft picks and not bundle them up to try and get one player. Chances are they will get one good player with their draft picks.....same difference. Advantage is getting a few talented players to develop. I'd rather see them sign young players with plenty of upside potential than one old star whose career is headed down. The Falcons are not a team that is one player away from being a contender.


The Falcons and fans just went through a miserable season and got rewarded with the #6 pick. I hope it's not wasted on a player that will play hard when he wants to.

HarveyPooka
HarveyPooka

IMHO, of group mentioned, only Smith should get viable consideration.   Which means, Falcons will probably overpay for past-prime Peppers and not even be smart enough to recognize down the road that it is/was a mistake.

UGA75
UGA75

Steve Smith is the toughest receiver in football at any level, he is also one of the smartest. He would make every player on the offense better and same Ryan 10-20 drops per year. I'd rather see him in Falcon's jersey than any player available. He might not be here but one or two years but he is so motivated, and again TOUGH.

96JB
96JB

never happen.

_CraZy_
_CraZy_

Need a free safety who can cover lots of ground or can lay the wood...  I'm not sure if Champ can do either at this point.

LowcountryFalcon
LowcountryFalcon

Is Kerry Rhodes still a free agent? He could provide depth at FS

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Shameful what Carolina is doing to Steve Smith. I can't believe their doing this to the guy.

Is this really how you wanna be remembered for treating your best player in Franchise history Mr. Richardson?

Fearless prediction #1 of the off-season......Carolina 1st to last in NFC South. :)

Right now, Marvin McNutt & Tevarris King are your starting WRs. Not sure Hakeem Nicks wants any part of this fiasco.

Their D ain't that good. Check that secondary.

Mike2112
Mike2112

New England just signed Revis. Denver signed Ware . I don't know about everyone on here , but I'm getting sick and tired of the Atlanta upper management Good Ol' Boy system. We get the Chiefs players . What's next , we trade a player to the Jaguars for some magic beans and a unicorn ????  Let's see , we trade all of our draft picks for Clowney , a balloon and free tickets to Magic Mountain.

KennesawFan
KennesawFan

One thing the Falcons do not need is the cancer that any former Saints player would be.  

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

How about Jonathon Vilma, he's available and he alone could improve the sorry arse falcan't defense, tenfold 

GEAUX SAINTS!!!

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

TIM TEBOW IS STILL WORKING OUT SIGN HIM TO BACK UP RYAN, IF RYAN GOES DOWN YOU HAVE NO ONE  TO BACK HIM UP TEBOW WOULD

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

owen daniels  who is visiting greenbay now you stupid idiots , that  TE is a catching machine , like Gonzales was , not smith  , but peppers , hester, decker , ben tate running back, what about juston tuck , opposite osi , it worked at the giants he is visiting the raiders , so ids lamar woodlley

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

I'll echo the sentiments of people below.  All these are TERRIBLE ideas, especially Bailey.  His name wouldn't be anywhere near the Falcons radar if he wasn't a former UGA player.  Bailey is about 5-6 seasons past his prime.  He got routinely beat in Denver for the last 2-3 seasons and couldn't make an open field tackle for love or money.  Yes, the Falcons need a safety but they'd be better off getting a mediocre FA than transition a CB whose NFL career is one foot in the grave.

GregoryHawes
GregoryHawes

They need a FS, OLB, TE and DE.  Naturally, DLed gives us three WRs.

jerunamo
jerunamo

Most of these guys are over the hill. This article is a waste of time. Nothing to write about.......

ATLFan
ATLFan

Would love to see the Falcons pick up Steve Smith just to watch him stick it to his old team the Panthers twice a year!  Also agree Hester would be a major improvement in the return game even at his age.

RandyFalcon
RandyFalcon

In todays NFL kick returners have very little value. Most kickoffs today just go through the end zone with no return even attempted. So forget Hester. But one area that I feel needs an upgrade that no one is talking about is running back. I'm not sure that Jackson is the answer. I'm not a fan of Rodgers. Snelling retired. Antione Smith is a huge question mark as Coach Smith refused to play him enough last year to see what he could do over an extended playing period. Hopefully we can find one in the draft. If not we may not have the turnaround that we're hoping for.

turftoe
turftoe

Falcons need to go with youth,and forget all these over the hill  has beens FA.

turftoe
turftoe

I would like to see Matt Ryan restructure his contract,so the falcons could add more FA,but that won't ever happen! Falcons need a lot of help on defence.

GASports
GASports

Ryan Clark is a free agent.  Why not try him?

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

Dled I would co-sign on everything you said in this article! Nice choices and fits for what you are talking about!!!

Electra
Electra

Champ Bailey: He would fit nicely if he was give free safety a shot. ??? 

Mora-less-Petrino
Mora-less-Petrino

I agree on Hester and Peppers if the price is right. The other three would be nice additions as well.

If the Falcons decide to trade down to pick up an additional mid round pick, I could see them going after Clinton-Dix to fill the free safety need. I would be surprised if they passed on guys like Robinson or Mack though. Will need the 6 spot for those players.


 Here's a scenario that will not happen,but would certainly generate a lot of excitement and debate: The Falcons trade this years 1st round pick, and a mid round spot, and next years 1st round pick to the Rams, for both of the Rams 1st round picks this year. That opens the door to say, Clowney at #2, then at #13 they could probably get Clinton-Dix FS, Taylor Lewan or possibly Matthews OT, Barr or Mosley LB, Aaron Donald DT, or whomever they felt was in their best interest. If the player or players they were targeting were off the board at #13, they could deal the #13 pick to get back into the 1st round next year. Won't happen, but makes good fodder for off-season blog discussion.

Leviathan
Leviathan

Too much talent in this draft to consider signing any of these older players. Decker wants to get paid. Peppers is too old. Smith is too old. Bailey is too old. Hester wants too much money just to be a KR/PR and he's too old. Hester has no receiver skills. Pass on all and use this recently merged brain trust of a front office to do their collective jobs and find talent in the draft. We have 10 picks or so? If they can't find at least 4 quality players(FS, OT, DE/OLB, TE) picking as high as the Falcons are picking, Dimitroff should resign.

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

@GregoryHawes I'm not even sure why Decker was on the list.  He was the #2 WR in Denver an it'd make absolutely no sense for him to come here and be the #3 WR. 

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

@turftoe go young you idiot they went young last year let Abraham ,do, to Arizona =  4-12 , and right now this year 6-10 to 10 pick again next year

jerunamo
jerunamo

I'd like to see Matty Patty lose his contract and we find a tougher QB.

stevehere
stevehere

@Mora-less-Petrino Pass that bowl dude. Clinton-Dix, Matthews, Barr or possibly Taylor Lewan I can buy into. Clowney? Not saying he won't be good but have you actually seen anything besides smoke 'n mirrors and lip service this past year? 

We don't want more blind "excitement".

RangeRover
RangeRover

@jerunamo  

A tougher QB?  You mean the Matt Ryan that was pounded and pummeled repeatedly but kept getting up and never once coming off the field.  That Matt Ryan?

I say we lose you because if you were twice as smart you'd still be stupid!

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

I believe the part that means something is the 9ers have 5 SB's to NO's 1.

They've also advanced farther than NO in each of the last 3 postseasons.

Ron49ers
Ron49ers

@SeenThatB4 @Ron49ers Aints 1 little Super Bowl  49ers 5  your team the fraud as they won there  the year they were caught cheating

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

@Ron49ers The falcan'ts win a Super Bowl?  Pffff, you just proved you're a fraud.

Ron49ers
Ron49ers

@SeenThatB4 That highly unlikely  but even you admit  we will win another. but the aints are done no one really believe they will ever be lucky enough to win another one. Falcons will win one maybe

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

And uh, your team lost to Flacco, FLACCO!   Yeah, I know your team will win another Super Bowl after 2014, but how long after 2014 is the question that even you didn't answer.  Maybe around 2088. 

Ron49ers
Ron49ers

@SeenThatB4 There a good team but they don't own us usually comes down to home field. But were talking about the saints. Who only super bowl came against manning choke. That fact alone should negate your SB

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

I doubt that.  Seattle owns your team.