Instead of overpaying for potential breakout players that were on the free agent market or trading valuable draft picks to secure a solid starter, the Atlanta Falcons’ offseason changes can be described as conservative yet beneficial.
The majority of their moves consisted of re-signing valuable components to an already successful team. A 10-6 playoff team from a year ago doesn’t have glaring, overhaul-the-team type holes – despite the porous offensive line - but rather plug-the-leak type holes. With that being said, here are the Falcons’ top 5 offseason moves.
1. Re-signing defensive end John Abraham.
Abraham has long been a stalwart on Atlanta’s defensive line and inking the 34-year-vet, who also happens to be the league’s active leader in sacks with 112, will help stabilize a defense learning under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Abraham understands the Falcons’ 4-3 base and can neutralize the depth issues at linebacker.
2. Re-signing safety Thomas DeCoud
Given the Falcons’ upgrade at cornerback with the addition of former Eagles CB Asante Samuel, DeCoud should be given more leeway at the safety position. Last season he was the team’s third-leading tackler with 108 and also led the team with four interceptions.
3. Acquisition of CB Asante Samuel
The Falcons’ trade for Samuel represents the lone major splash they made this offseason. The 31-year-old Samuel’s veteran leadership immediately boosts a secondary of Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes and was well worth a seventh round pick to the Eagles. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has seemingly always had an affinity for Samuel, as he was on staff at New England when the Patriots selected Samuel in 2003.
4. Re-signing Tony Gonzalez
Anytime you can re-sign arguably the greatest player at a given position, for a reasonable $3.9 million, you have to do it. This wasn’t a pity or appreciation signing for Gonzalez, who’s devoted the last three years of his Hall of Fame career to the Falcons. Gonzalez racked up 80 catches last season with seven touchdowns, although the Falcons’ 24-2 playoff loss to the Giants continued his dubious streak of never winning a playoff game.
5. Drafting RG/C Peter Konz
The Falcons are fortunate that Konz, a Rimington Trophy finalist (best college C), was still on the board at No. 55. The Falcons are set at C with 13-year veteran Todd McClure and so enter Konz, a Wisconsin product, into the array of options at RG. The rookie is expected to eventually take over for McClure but for now, expect Konz to compete from day one for a starting job on Atlanta’s troublesome line.
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