This gives the Falcons 11 defensive linemen, but the move makes sense. Vance Walker is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Peters, Peria Jerry and Jonathan Babineaux will go into their final contract years next season.
The team will have decisions to make on Babs and possibly on Jerry as well, as Jerry has an escalator clause based on playing time. If he hits his target (I don't know if it's possible based on this season alone), his base salary will jump to $2.9 million - steep if he's destined to be a backup.
The base salary on Babineaux will bump up to $4.7 million. That's certainly within reason for a starter, particularly for an iron man like Babineaux. But he'll be 32 when he finishes out the contract, so it's questionable whether the team would factor him into their longer term plans.
Atlanta is continuing to stick with six defensive ends, though prospects Cliff Matthews and Johnathan Massaquoi have seen zero action on defense. However, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has noted that nearly all of Atlanta's DEs are suitable candidates to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 package. That means the extra bodies on the bench double as emergency depth for the linebacker group, which has the least depth we have seen at that position in the Mike Smith era.In the meantime, losing Johnson drops the team back to five cornerbacks. It means that once again we are relying on Chris Owens and Dominique Franks for depth. That hasn't worked out so well for the team in the past, but then, they were also saddled with Brian VanGorder as defensive coordinator.