Thomas Dimitroff heard your roster-related lamentations and, in a voice booming with thunder, said "Would you people just wait five minutes?!"
Falcons fans are not, to put it mildly, a patient bunch. When we see a problem, we hit the self-destruct button and dive into an escape hatch. It’s not necessarily a critique of the bulk of Falcons fans, but it’s true that each of the last four off-seasons has been an exercise in extreme mood swings, especially during pre-season. Less charitable people would term it as a "collective freakout" or "hysterical response to virtually nothing," but I’m not a less charitable person.
As usual, time heals all wounds. The Falcons quietly waited until roster cuts were in and they had a chance to evaluate their own talent before striking like a front office cobra, signing former Patriots safety James Sanders Tuesday and former Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden. Both, I should note, were at least part-time starters in 2010.
Regardless of whether these guys end up starting, signing both was an exercise in low-key brilliance. James Sanders either steals a starting job from Thomas DeCoud and excels or becomes a great third safety, one who can come in on clear passing downs and make an impact. Kelvin Hayden either wins the nickel job or provides solid veteran depth in case of an injury, and is able to mentor the talented Dominique Franks. Both guys, in short, either make great reserves or capable enough starters.
Neither player is perfect, and they didn’t have jobs for a reason. Hayden has legitimate injury concerns. Sanders is a liability against the run, to the point where Shann Schillinger may be the preferable option on obvious rushing downs. Both need to learn the playbook very quickly. When you consider the collective inexperience and question marks around everyone from Dominique Franks to Rafael Bush, though, the front office clearly felt the need to pull the trigger.
What happens next, considering the Falcons have to cut down to 80 players? Chris Owens could get the boot, or an undrafted free agent type like Kamaal McIlwain. Chauncey Davis and his fancy salary could be looking for work, too, if the Falcons want a little more cap breathing room.
That’s all for the next day or two to determine. What is clear is that the Falcons just got better, without a clear downside. That’s the kind of thing every Falcons fan, even the ones in lead-lined bunkers, can get behind.
What say you?