After all, Nicks is likely to be hugely expensive. He's likely gaining leverage over the Saints right now, and the Saints are said to want him back. The Falcons can get him and I do hope they'll at least try, but it won't be easy.
The more promising possibility might be Ben Grubbs.
It's difficult to argue that Grubbs is better than Nicks. The Ravens' guard is borderline elite and has done a great job of protecting Joe Flacco in recent years, but he's not quite as powerful a blocker as Nicks. That's fine, because that small difference in ability could account for a few million dollars on the final salary line.
So what of Grubbs? He played only ten games in 2011 due to injury, but he's generally been a durable, consistent starter. He has a well-rounded skill set, quality size at 6'3" and 310 and fundamentally sound blocking. He's very good by virtue of being good at pretty much everything.
Considering how well Todd McClure and Tyson Clabo played this season, the right side of the line only needs help as guard. Grubbs is a little smaller than Justin Blalock and would probably fit in exceptionally well on the right side of the line, leaving the Falcons with only one glaring weakness: Left tackle. If Will Svitek can take a step forward, even that's not a true weakness.
I truly believe the Falcons need to upgrade along the line however they can, and to be frank, the best free agent options are guards. Grubbs would be an excellent choice, in my addled mind.