Four days in the books now, folks! This has been a relatively crazy week for the Falcons and for the larger NFL, particularly those teams who rely on pterodactyls to deliver contracts to the league office.
Now that the dust has settled on the first four days of free agency, it's time to take a closer look at where the Falcons stand and where they're likely to go over the next couple of days. Buckle up, kiddos.
- The Falcons are more or less set on offense. If they want to upgrade at receiver, it may come in the draft. They have five starters on the offensive line, they added Steven Jackson and they brought back Tony Gonzalez. I'd be amazed if they added anyone other than a low-impact free agent or draft pick here.
- The defense is less settled. William Moore is back in the fold, but the team only has three defensive ends on the roster, hasn't settled its cornerback situation and still needs (at minimum) depth at linebacker. They'll take care of this primarily through the draft, but there's still some free agents they can chase with their minimal cap space.
- Elvis Dumervil probably won't be a Falcon, though he's easily the best player left on the market. Instead, expect the Falcons to try to grab Dwight Freeney, Osi Umenyiora or even both to offer veteran pass rushing help and complement Cliff Matthews and Jonathan Massaquoi. They can likely be had for cheap.
- Cornerback won't be addressed through free agency, more than likely. The Falcons appear content to allow Brent Grimes to check out his options, though he could still come back. Ditto Chris Owens. Ultimately, though, the Falcons may search for an athletic younger corner to groom alongside Asante Samuel and Robert McClain.
- There's a few outstanding in-house guys who still haven't signed. Vance Walker, Will Svitek and Mike Cox are among them, and while there appears to be viable replacements for Svitek and Cox, Walker was a mighty useful player in 2012. Whether he re-signs or not may depend on how much faith the team is willing to put in Travian Robertson.
- If the team wants savings, they're going to have to try hard to get them. Matt Ryan's re-structure/extension could save them a couple million, at least, and releasing Jonathan Babineaux or re-structuring him would do the same. Beyond that, most of the guys fans actually want to see go (Stephen Nicholas, Peria Jerry) would save the team virtually nothing.
- I fully expect the Falcons to make at least one more signing by the end of the weekend. I think they're looking to be patient and let the market develop, but these pass rushers are going to start to disappear and I think the Falcons do want one.