So the year is over. 2014 is what we have to look forward to. Good riddance 2013!
Tony Gonzalez, I want to thank you for everything you put yourself through this past year. I hate that we sent you out the way we did. You didn't deserve this. Please, enjoy your retirement as much as you can.
So this is my attempt to a Mock Offseason on what I think will be the most ideal way to regroup and get us back into the playoff's. I'll break this down as quickly as I can but, it will be long.
State of the Falcons
The 2014 Salary Cap is to be set around 126.3 million. The Falcons are around 108.2 million after incentives and bonuses. We have 4.9 million in dead money and 3.8 in carryover. So we should be right around 17 million under the cap.
Where to Start?
We have to be honest with ourselves and see what the problems are on all facets of the game. Coaching, Special Teams, Offense and Defense. We've gotten rid of our DL and OL coaches. Great! Now who do we replace them with?
My Pick: Rick Dennison.
The last two years we haven't had any lanes to run. While Jacquizz Rodgers is shifty enough to create his own plays, the truth is our OL is personnel made for Zone Blocking. Dennison worked wonders with Houston's line creating opportunities for Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
Alternate: Tony Sparano.
I expect Oakland to get rid of a few coaches and although he has been linked with the Bucs, Sparano does bring a pedigree that would immediately improve our O Line.
My Pick: Rod Marinelli
He's not going anywhere in Dallas. He knows it. He has effectively made smaller lineman into pass rushing beasts. That's why I want him.
Alternate: Chuck Smith
Teams are using his hybrid scheme to deploy on. He was a Defensive Lines coach at the University of Tennessee (Boo) but, why not give him a shot? If he's able to unearth something within our lines to make it formidable then I say why not.
Osi Umenyiora. His first season was forgettable with us. He's a 4.75 million dollar cap hit for basically a back DE at this point in his career. He's not worth it.
Stephen Nicolas. 4 million cap hit for a back LB is not worth it either.
Thomas Decoud. 4.8 million for a guy who can't tackle
Asante Samuel: Unless he takes a pay cut. at 5.25 that is way too high.
Here's the truth on this. That's four guys from our defense that were starters at some point in 2013. That's a huge change we're going to have to do. I think it's possible but, it will be incredibly difficult.
Let em walk:
OT Jeremy Trueblood, OT Sean Locklear, DT Jonathan Babineaux, DT Peria Jerry, LB Omar Gaither, CB Dominique Franks, Chase Coffman
Babineaux is the true risk here because we all love him. However I think he'll be asking more than I'd be willing to pay him. He's not the same guy anymore and it's time to move on.
Restricted Free Agents Signing:
Robert McClain 1 year 2 million (2nd Round Tender) : He's a good Nickel Corner for a 7th round pick. I truly doubt that someone signs him away but, this is a pass happy league
Exclusive Rights Free Agents:
WR Drew Davis and DT Adam Replogle. Sign for minimum emphasis on maximum
1. Corey Peters: 46 tackles and 5.0 sacks. That's why we resign him. He was double teamed nearly all season and found a way to get sacks. He tore his Achilles late but, it is supposedly around 5 to 7 months recovery. Thats training camp at the latest.
My Prediction: 4 years 20 million (7.5 guaranteed)
2. Joe Hawley: He has a nasty streak like Harvey Dahl and he has developed into an ideal Center to build around with his technique. He does need to get stronger but, his style is what we need on this line.
My Prediction: 3 years 7.5 million (3.5 guaranteed)
3. Mike Johnson: Let's think back on last year and remember that Mike Johnson was slated to be starter and had the ability to play RG or RT. So this is a depth move more than anything. The good thing is that with this deal. if he proves himself to win either spot and plays good then we got an amazing deal.
My Prediction: 2 year 3.0 million (500k guaranteed)
Extend: Roddy White
He isn't on the right side of 30 but, he has sure hands and at the very least could develop into a 3rd down threat.
We're paying him 7 million next season. For a no. 2? That's not a good move
4 year 22 million (10 million guaranteed)
It's higher than I would want it but essentially this is a 3 year deal at it's worst
Before Free Agency
We have 52 players of the 90 we need with my set up. We're also at around 19-21 million in cap space. Our targets are Defensive Line, Tight End and Safety. Some of these signings will shock you but, I believe this is all very possible
1. FA Signing: DT Linval Joseph
He plays 1 tech to perfection. Combining him with Peters would allow penetration from the middle to put pressure on getting QB's out of the pocket.
My Prediction: 4 years 21 million (6 million guaranteed)
2. FA Signing: S Bernard Pollard
He had 93 tackles in a revived role with the Titans. I've always thought he was one of the most underrated Safeties out there and he can really hit.
My Prediction: 3 year 12 million (4 million guaranteed)
3. FA Signing: TE Jimmy Graham
I've heard it all. There's no way the Saints are letting Graham go. Sure, but the Saints are 9 million over the cap. Well we'll cut Harper! Smith! De La Puente! Vilma! Great! Please do so but, then answer me how your defense competes next year? Go ahead I'll wait...
The truth is this is the most unlikely signing because it is possible for the Saints to totally dismember the team that won a Superbowl for them. But, I'm a bit of a dreamer. So yes Jimmy Graham being our no.1 target. We need to replace Tony Gonzalez production. Well here you are what better way to replace the no. 1 tight end of all time with the no. 1 tight end right now?
My Prediction: 6 year 48 million (10 million signing bonus)
I'm throwing out trades. Not because I don't think we can't benefit from them but because it is too much of a variable. I've scouted and thought things through and at least for this 1.0 I think is our best bet.
1st round : Jadeveon Clowney DE
How? Easy. Texans, Raiders, Jaguars, Browns need a quarterback. Rams need a Left Tackle of the future. I know what's going to be said that maybe these teams don't want to reach for a quarterback but, let's be honest on something. In today's football you need a quarterback and offensive line to succeed. If you don't have either and I am talking about 2007 to now, then you don't have a team. Ask the Vikings. Loaded with weapons and no QB. Doesn't it make sense for Clowney to drop to us? How bad do we need an offensive tackle over a once in a decade defensive lineman? Our O Line was in shambles last year because of injuries and bad coaching. We need a tackle but we also need a Guard more so. Clowney immediately gets double teams which only opens up our defense.
2nd round : Zack Martin OL
We need better O line play and Zack is better than just about anyone on our O Line. He's nasty to put it simply. Combine him with Hawley and suddenly we have an attitude to our line that we've been missing.
3rd round George Uko DT
Versatility has been in the form of Falcons for years. Uko has the ability to play 3-4 or 4-3 as he did with USC.
4th round: Charles Sims RB
He's a Matt Forte type that could be our no. 1 back soon. The thing is this year we were killed by Lacy and by Ellington. I'm not convinced Steven Jackson sticks around and if he doesn't then Charles Sims should be our pick
5th round: Dri Archer WR
This is purely for special teams. Archer has the abliity to break the combine record for fastest guy out there. He will probably never be a starting receiver but, that's ok. The kid has explosion that only few can explain
6th round: Stanley Jean Baptiste CB
6'3 220 and is a cover guy. He's a project that could be asked to be moved to Free Safety but he has good vision overall
7th round: Denicos Allen
He's a depth move for sure but has played in big games (Very key in the Ohio St. game) to be given a shot?
So what do you guys think? Not too bad for a 1.0 send me your thoughts and I'll continue to do more research of course