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 meet with agents who represent linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, special teamer Eric Weems and nose tackle Corey Peters.
FLOWERY BRANCH – For the Falcons, 40 is the new 30.
That’s the plan at least when it comes to kicker Matt Bryant, who signed a three-year contract extension with the team on Wednesday. The new deal will keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent on March 10.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff the deal was close last Thursday at the scouting combine. The team is not overly concerned about Bryant’s age. He’s set to turn 40 in May.
“Matt has some age in his leg, but again, Matt is one of those guys who takes care of his body,” Dimitroff said. “He’s fine-tuned as far as his flexibility and his hydration, because that’s another part of it. I’m not concerned about it as far as what we are looking to do. I think he’s still got years left in him.”
The Falcons didn’t want Bryant to reach free agency.
“I think Matt is a heck of a football player and kicker,” Dimitroff said. “He’s done some really good things for us.”
Matt Bryant, 13-year kicker
The skinny: Re-signed with the Falcons
The snaps: He made 29 of 32 field goals last season and 40 of 40 extra points. He converted an NFL-best seven kicks from beyond 50 yards. His 90.6 field goal percentage in 2014 was tied for the fifth-best mark in the NFL and his 127 points ranked 12th.
The stats: Bryant has been with the Falcons since 2009. He’s made 148 of 167 field goals attempts (88.6 percent), including 18 of 24 from 50 yards are longer. He has become the second-leading scorer in franchise history, with 666 points. He’s 140 points shy of Morten Andersen’s club record of 806 points.
2014 salary: $2,750,000, plus a $562,500 pro-rated signing bonus. New terms, undisclosed.
FALCONS POTENTIAL UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
K Matt Bryant
G-T Gabe Carimi
S Charles Godfrey
G Mike Johnson
S Dwight Lowery
DE Cliff Matthews
CB Robert McClain
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 COMBINE MEETINGS