The opening of NFL Free agency is similar to opening of a Toy/Gadget store with all the latest and greatest stuff, except in NFL Free agency you have limited stock of top players (gadgets). As a passionate fan of the team, I would want Falcons to go and get latest and greatest players (Gadgets) available. Does this mean the new Gadgets are better or offer more value than the one before? It doesn't matter, because I am emotionally wired to get the latest and greatest gadgets. After the initial disappointment over lack of splash by falcons in FA, I tried to make sense of the FA moves or lack thereof. This post is not to grade the Front office or predict everything will be magically better, but to better understand the reason. Let's look at the biggest moves this off season.
This is a no brainer as we all agree that MM and BVG needed to go. I am excited with Mike Nolan as a DC and on the offense let Matt Ryan run the offense with DK as a guide.
At the start of the off season, part of me wanted Falcons to let Brent Grimes walk and put a franchise tag on Curtis Lofton. Lofton was one of my favorite players and I still have a copy of last year's Sports Illustrated cover photo of Lofton signed by him. But the bigger question is "Can Falcons easily replace him with someone on the team?" Looking at the coverage numbers from last few games of the season and esp. in the playoff game, Franks was not ready. Franks gave up 105 yards,3 crucial 3rd down conversions and 2 TD in the play offs. The other part of secondary held up nicely with DeCoud and Dunta Robinson forcing a punt each. Chris Owens stepped up in the playoff game with two 3rd down stops resulting in a Punt and a FG. I guess it's not a stretch to say Mike Nolan thinks Franks is not ready for Prime time.
This is a no brainer except for the money; Abe was number 2 on the PFF list of DE FA available only behind Mario Williams and Abraham was graded by PFF last year as second for over all DE play only behind Trent Cole. The Credit also goes to Abe for coming back to Falcons by turning down more money from Titans.
DeCoud is not one of the fan favorite, rightfully so because of the missed tackles and giving up big plays early on in the season. However in the last 8 games, he just gave up 26 yards despite covering guys like Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Andre Johnson. PFF had DeCoud ranked as number 2 in the FA among safeties and without lot of options available getting back DeCoud probably was a priority for Falcons.
The biggest road block in bringing back Lofton was probably the difference in perception on Lofton being a 2 down or a 3 down LB. Mike Nolan thought he was a 2 down LB because of Loftons poor coverage skills especially on 3rd downs. You can refer to Lofton's 3rd down coverage numbers here and be the judge. Even with lack of coverage skills, Lofton was a tackling machine and a very young LB who could have improved. Given the difference in perception,Money and losing Brent Grimes not being an option is probably why Lofton is with s'Aints.
Regarding the Offensive Line, I don't know what to make off until the draft and end of FA. What say you?