There's less than two weeks to go before the start of NFL free agency, and the Falcons still have plenty of in-house free agents they must make decisions on. Given this organization's uncanny ability to keep everything quiet, we don't really know how many of them they are negotiating with in the first place.
The Falcons will probably still be active in free agency even after locking up Kroy Biermann and tossing the franchise tag at Brent Grimes, but you can bet they're not going to let all their guys walk away in free agency. There are too many quality players who contributed in 2010 and 2011, even if it would be both impossible and undesirable to keep them all.
Given that, I thought it would be useful to take a look at the free agents list one more time. Just for the hell of it, we'll even try to figure out who stays and who goes, and how that would affect the depth charts at their respective positions. That's just how we roll.
Hit the jump with me and we'll go down the list. Biermann and Grimes not included, and the exclusive rights guys are all coming back, as well.
QB Chris Redman, ???: Your guess is as good as mine with Rojohombre, who has been a solid backup for the last few years but is getting up there. The Falcons have been grooming John Parker Wilson and there are some intriguing young prospects who can be had later in the draft, so I'd lean toward him walking. Tough call.
RB Jason Snelling, Gone: Snelling's been a useful, versatile piece for the Falcons since he was drafted back in 2008, and I'd hate to see him go. The Falcons have Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rodgers, Antone Smith and Dmitri Nance and have expressed a roundabout sort of interest in backs in this year's draft, meaning the depth chart will be plenty full. He's likely to find a role on another team.
WR Harry Douglas, Gone: Douglas is a useful player who is pretty fearless over the middle, but he's not irreplaceable and never really exploded the way everyone hoped. The Falcons have been grooming Kerry Meier and Kevin Cone and are looking at an extremely deep wide receiver draft, as well as quality free agent options like Robert Meachem and Mario Manningham. They'll let Douglas walk.
WR Eric Weems, ???: Weems is also hard to figure out. The team likes his ability to contribute on special teams, but he was far from special as a returner this last season and offers relatively little as a receiver. If the Falcons elect to have Darrin Walls, Dominique Franks or another wide receiver handle returns, he'd be a redundant player. We'll see what happens in the next couple of weeks, but I don't love his chances of returning.
TE Reggie Kelly, Gone: Old and getting older, Kelly offers little outside of competent blocking. The Falcons have Tommy Gallarda and Ryan Winterswyk available to fill the blocking role, and both have higher upsides than Kelly at this point. They won't bring him back.
T Kirk Chambers, Gone: The Falcons have Sam Baker, Will Svitek and Tyson Clabo locked up at tackle and will be looking to add another piece. Unless Chambers is showing signs of becoming the next Svitek, there's not much point in bringing him back.
C Brett Romberg, Conditional: If the Falcons don't bring back Todd McClure, Romberg probably stays as a capable backup center behind Joe Hawley/a draft pick. If they bring McClure back, they probably won't bother with Romberg.
C Todd McClure, Conditional: Do the Falcons believe Joe Hawley is ready to take over at center? If so, they probably let this franchise great leave and finish out his twilight years elsewhere. If not, they probably try for a one-year, incentive-laden deal and hope to get another healthy high performance season out of him. A lot depends on Hawley.
DE John Abraham, Gone: Unless his asking price comes way down, the Falcons simply aren't interested in retaining Abraham. $12 million is too much for a 34-year-old pass rusher, no matter how good his track record is. I think he'll find his fortune elsewhere.
OLB Mike Peterson, Back: The Falcons like Peterson's veteran presence and run-stopping. They'll bring him back for one more year and have him be the first guy off the bench on rushing downs, taking some pressure off Spencer Adkins and Robert James.
MLB Curtis Lofton, Conditional: The Falcons would like to keep Lofton around, but the Buccaneers could blow them out of the water with a huge offer. If his market doesn't materialize, Lofton will be back, but I suspect the Falcons will be losing him.
CB Kelvin Hayden, Gone: The Falcons have a young secondary with considerable talent, and Hayden was average last year when he wasn't banged up. They don't have a ton of incentive to bring him back and won't end up doing it.
S Thomas DeCoud, Back: For all the crap he takes, DeCoud is an asset against the pass and not an abomination against the run. He's definitely a starting-caliber safety, is still young and fills a real need for the team at free safety. They'll bring him back.
S James Sanders, Back: I think Sanders comes back for one more year as the top backup at both positions. The team doesn't really have a proven thing waiting for backup FS and I don't expect there to be a strong market for him, so expect him back for one more year as he attempts to build value.
LS Joe Zelenka, Back: Consistent and quiet, which is all you ask for from a long snapper. He's coming back.
DT Vance Walker, Restricted: Coming back. He's a valued member of the defensive tackle rotation.
The upshot? The Falcons will be down a slot receiver, backup offensive linemen, possibly their starting center, their best pass rusher, potentially their middle linebacker and pieces in the secondary, among other reserves. They'll need a quality off-season to fill some of those holes, to say the least.
Weigh in on this list.