The Atlanta Falcons made bold moves releasing Michael Turner (no surprise), Dunta Robinson, and John Abraham. The move free up $16 million in cap space. With defensive needs and looking forward to extending quarterback Matt Ryan and safety William Moore these look like good moves. Like most I thought Robinson hasn't been able to live up to the big contract he signed. Abraham was a short term answer who was injured last year and when he did play wasn't his old self. Turner has lost his speed and was able to only manage 3.6 yards per carry last year. Move over it just looked obvious Turner was declining. A shame as he was very productive his first four years after signing as a free agent from the Chargers.
Still the Falcons have a plan. They are trying their best to keep tight end Tony Gonzalez from retiring. He was important as anyone on the team last year and I think it would be a huge hit to the offense as their is no one ready to replace him. Another running back to pair with Jacquizz Rodgers is also a priority on offense and like 90% of teams they can use some help on the offensive line. With Abraham gone a defensive end is a must. Dwight Freeney, formerly of the Colts, has been a rumored target. I think he would be a great addition but I also know he will cost a pretty penny. A linebacker, especially in the middle, would be helpful on defense as well. I think Atlanta will look to address much of these needs through the draft but as they pick 30th in each round most players brought in will need to be developed over time. Of course we can hope for lightning in a bottle...
Running back Steven Jackson is also rumored to be on Atlanta's radar. I like Jackson but he is a running back I see on the back end of his career. He might work well in Atlanta but I'm not sure it would be worth it as I'm thinking in two years he'll be about done even though he is 29. He has had a great career in St. Louis and I hope he can hook on with a team that will finally get him to the playoffs but I'd be ok if the Falcons took a pass.
Wide receiver Mike Wallace is my pick as the best free agent out there. He is a real burner who stretches defenses. I would think any team would love to have him lining up at receiver. The local talk radio folks and fans are gushing over him but I doubt Jeff Fisher and the Rams will make that big of a move. I do think it would be beneficial for that offense which has been devoid of quality receivers for some time. If you don't believe me ask Sam Bradford.
Joe Flacco would have been next on my list but he is now the highest paid quarterback after getting paid by Baltimore. While I've never been a huge Flacco guy I'm definitely on board with any quarterback that gets my team to the AFC Championship in three of five years. And then he tops it off with a Super Bowl win? Maybe his stats won't compare to to the great quarterbacks of today but the resume does.
The Bill have had a pretty quiet offseason but they did put the franchise tag on safety Jairus Byrd on Friday. It was the non exclusive franchise tag which means other teams can give offers to Byrd but the Bills can match the offer. And if a team did sign Byrd they'd lose two first round choices. Don't see that happening.