Countdown to free agency: CB Javier Arenas

Falcons cornerback Javier Arenas defends against the Titans during the second half in their NFL exhibition game on Sunday, August 23, 2014, in Atlanta. (By Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons cornerback Javier Arenas defends against the Titans during the second half in their NFL exhibition game on Sunday, August 23, 2014, in Atlanta. (By Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Editor’s note: Prior to the start of the new league year on March 10, AJC.Com is counting down the top unrestricted free agents the Atlanta Falcons will have to decide on this offseason. At the combine, general manager Thomas Dimitroff stated that team was close to signing kicker Matt Bryant and that talks have started with linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, special teamer Eric Weems and nose tackle Corey Peters.

FLOWERY BRANCH — Now, that all of the team executives are back from the scouting combine, the roster-retooling is set to commence.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn, who has control over the 53-man roster, has told his assistant coaches that the defense must get faster. Slow and physical doesn’t work for him. As everyone has heard a few times, he wants to play fast and physical.

The Falcons are looking for pass rush players in the draft and free agency, but will try to upgrade the secondary in several spots.

Arenas, a former second round pick, has played with three teams already. He was selected by Kansas City when Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli was the general manager. He played 2013 with Arizona before joining the Falcons last season.

Arenas was signed to compete with veteran Josh Wilson and incumbent nickel back Robert McClain. Wilson started out as the top nickel back before McClain ended up claiming the position.

Arenas’ agent, Hadley Engelhard, a long-time Atlanta-based player representative, is not sure yet if the Falcons want to retain his client.

The fact that Quinn has already looked at safety Dezmen Southward’s nickel back from his college days at Wisconsin is not a good signal for Arenas, Wilson or McClain. All three players are set to become unrestricted free agents.

Javier Arenas, fifth-year cornerback

The skinny: Unrestricted free agent.

The snaps: Played 54 snaps in six games. Couldn’t win the nickel back job on the worst defense in the league.

The stats: 4 tackles, no interceptions.

2014 salary: $730,000 plus a $65,000 signing bonus

FALCONS POTENTIAL UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

DB Javier Arenas

LB Kroy Biermann

K Matt Bryant

G-T Gabe Carimi

S Charles Godfrey

G Mike Johnson

S Dwight Lowery

DE Cliff Matthews

CB Robert McClain

TE Bear Pascoe

DT Corey Peters

RB Jacquizz Rodgers

OT Jonathan Scott

RB Antone Smith

DE Osi Umenyiora

LB Sean Weatherspoon

WR Eric Weems

CB Josh Wilson

QB T.J. Yates

FALCONS STORIES

Falcons to focus on adding another cornerstone

Quinn-Dimitroff partnership off to a strong start

Q&A with Falcons head coach Dan Quinn at the combine

Falcons coach Dan Quinn fired up to watch pass-rushers

Q&A with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff on moving forward

Falcons to keep character filter on draft picks

Falcons close to re-signing kicker Matt Bryant

Falcons LT Jake Matthews recovering from offseason surgery

Falcons plan to extend WR Julio Jones contract

Falcons could target Denver TE Julius Thomas in free agency

Falcons’ roster gutting could have big names (i.e. Steven Jackson)

Cutting the Falcons roster — Should they stay or should they go?

COMBINE STORIES

Todd Gurley speaks about autograph-signing caper

Bucs appear set to cast future with Jameis Winston

Todd Gurley intriguing prospect to NFL teams

Alabama stars Cooper, Collins headed for first round

Chris Conley puts on a dazzling show at the combine

Waller, Smelter out to prove NFL standing at the combine

VIDEO DEPARTMENT

Watch: D. Led — Falcons news at the combine

Watch: NFL Network’s Mike Mayock at the combine

Watch: Jameis Winston to throw at the combine

Watch: Todd Gurley has interviews set up with 24 NFL teams

Watch: Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the combine

Watch: Falcons coach Dan Quinn at the combine

Watch: Rams GM Les Snead on the pass-rush talent at the combine

FALCONS COMBINE MEETINGS

Oregon DE Arik Armstead talked scheme with the Falcons

Falcons met with Alabama quarterback Blake Sims

Falcons to meet with Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr.

Falcons met with Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson

Falcons met with Alabama safety Landon Collins

PHOTO GALLERIES

Photographs from the 2015 NFL scouting combine

Photos of players with Georgia ties at the scouting combine

Photos of NFL pass rusher set to enter free agency


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