Barring a last second deal, the writing is on the wall for the long union between the Falcons and Keith Brooking.
This doesn't mean our stalwart veteran linebacker is gone. It just means there's a wide gap between what the Falcons think his market value is (borderline starter, talented veteran backup) and what Brooking and his agent think that value is (starter, Duke of Georgia).
“We had multiple conversations this weekend with the Falcons regarding their interest in re-signing Keith,” Pat Dye Jr. wrote in an e-mail to the Journal-Constitution. “At this time, I think both sides are struggling a little bit to assess his market value.”
Out of all the guys we could lose this off-season, Brooking's the guy I most want to come back, if just so he can finish his career in front of a fanbase that has long adored him. Nobody has been a better role model than Brooking. Very few have played as hard as he is, and the results speak for themselves. He's a very good bet to someday end up in the team's Ring of Honor. I can't think of a single bad thing to say about him.
Let's hope the Falcons are able to put some sort of reasonable offer on the table and bring him back to bridge the gap. I fully expect the Falcons to draft his replacement or insert one of our young guys there, but if he sticks around he could still be a valuable tutor for the linebacking corps.