With the official start of free agency just a day away, I thought it would be a good time to see what positions the team is likely to tackle (ha!) when the floodgates open.
This is a year where the Falcons have a couple of glaring needs and a need to infuse the roster with some talent, so they'll have to be somewhat active in free agency to take care of that. Already they've brought aboard veteran guard Vince Manuwai and linebacker Lofa Tatupu, hoping to get quality production on the cheap. Higher-profile guys are likely to follow.
Let's not waste a ton of time. Every position group is listed after the jump.
RB: This is a fairly weak running back class and the team has five guys under contract. Not gonna happen.
FB: If Ovie Mughelli is cut, the Falcons will be choosing between Mike Cox and the open market. They may choose the open market.
WR: A low-cost, high-upside slot receiver is a possibility here. Robert Meachem and Mario Manningham would be nice fits, but both are likely to be more expensive than they ought to be. I think they'll explore filling from within or re-signing Harry Douglas.
TE: There's a few quality options out there, but the Falcons will be looking for their tight end of the future in one of the next two drafts. Don't expect a big splash like John Carlson here.
OT: The Falcons will definitely take a look at Demetrius Bell, at least, but probably will address this through the draft with a project. I'm not ruling out veteran depth, though.
OG: The Falcons could still try to land Ben Grubbs or Carl Nicks, but I suspect they've been clearing cap space for the other side of the ball. Again, don't rule out another quietly solid veteran signing to try to shore this up.
DE: This is where the money will go. Whether it's Mario Williams, Jeremy Mincey or a couple of veteran pass rushers, the team will sink some serious dough into improving the pass rush. It's a must and the Comrade knows it.
DT: They've been linked to Kendall Langford and will probably try to make at least decent signing here to create better depth and give them more production. Don't be shocked if the depth chart gets shaken up in 2012, because Babs may be slowing down and Peria Jerry has done relatively little in three years.
OLB: Not likely to be a focal point unless the Falcons feel they can upgrade. Stephen Nicholas and Sean Weatherspoon are locked in as starters, and Robert James and Spencer Adkins provide young depth. They could replace Mo Pete, though.
MLB: The Falcons already locked up Lofa Tatupu and are probably done here. Whether Curtis Lofton returns is an open question.
CB: Don't entirely rule out a veteran cornerback here. The Falcons like to have a guy like Kelvin Hayden around, though I think they're a bit redundant at this point with Chris Owens, Dominique Franks and Darrin Walls showing a little promise.
FS: If James Sanders doesn't come back, the Falcons will be shopping for a backup. They could also address the position through the draft, as there's some quality prospects this time around.
K: The Falcons will keep Matt Bryant going for now, though it'll be time to look at the market in 2013. Nothing this spring, though.
P: Matt F'n Bosher.
LS: They'll probably return Joe Zelenka.