Here is my second mock offseason including predicted cuts, signings, and draft. All feedback is welcome and wanted. Also THANK YOU to everyone who voted in the poll I posted below. Thanks for reading!
IMPORTANT NOTE - We are currently about 10 mil under the cap. All cap numbers are from overthecap.com
RETIRE - Tony Gonzalez, TE. Why: We all know why.
Asante Samuel, CB. Why: Paying 3.5 mil for an aging backup CB is not a smart move. This cut seems like one of the most likely.
Thomas Decoud, FS. Why: After having a pro bowl year in 2012, Decoud took a huge step back in 2013. Missing easy tackles and having ZERO interceptions is not the recipe for a 4.8 million dollar safety. With big name safeties such as Jarius Byrd, T.J Ward, and Bernard Pollard, it makes cutting Decoud that much easier.
Stephen Nicholas, LB. Why: Stephen Nicholas is a pretty good backup linebacker. But backup linebackers don't get paid 3 million dollars a year. With Joplo Bartu being younger, better, and cheaper, it just makes sense that Nicholas gets cut this offseason.
Jason Snelling, RB. Why: Even though Snelling is a great running back, he is not young and over a million dollars seems pricey for a third string RB who is thirty. Also, Snell was arrested for possession of marijuana last year, which just gives TD another reason to cut him.
Garrett Reynolds, G. Why: Garrett Reynolds played horribly in 2013. It's safe to say he has hit rock bottom. He would save us a little over 1 million, which is enough to get cut.
After cuts cap space is a little over 24.9 million. PLENTY of space for potential re-signs and FA acquisitions.
Re-sign - Jonathan Babaneax, DT - hopefully giving us a hometown discount, Babs will probably be signing his last NFL contract. Even though he is 33 years old, Babs is still a valuable piece of the defensive line, and could really help mentor some new DT's coming to the falcons this year. A three year contract might be in the best interest of both parties.
Re-sign - Corey Peters, DT - After quietly coming his best season yet, Corey is definitely starting material in my eyes, and should be signed to a nice contract.
Re-sign - Joe Hawley, OL - With a lot of questions at the center position, Joe Hawley is if anything a very good backup, and will come at very cheap price. A two year deal seems reasonable.
Re-sign - Mike Johnson, OL - Unfortunately Mike Johnson was injured before the season began, so no one really saw what he could do as a starting OT. Fortunately for us because of the injury, Johnson should come at a pretty reasonable price.
Re-sign - Robert McClain, CB - If we decided to let McClain go in FA, we would only have two corners on the team. McClain was a very good nickel corner in 2012, and a can be a good backup to our young secondary.
Re-sign - Chase Coffman, TE - We should ideally have three TE's on the team. Gonzo is gone, and the only other TE is Toilolo, so it just makes sense that we re-sign Coffman to a one or two year deal for cheap. Hey, at least he's depth.
Sign - Jairus Byrd, S - Even though Mr. Blank said we would not be making a " big splash" in FA, this is a signing that would need to happen. Byrd would make our secondary one of the deadliest in the league, possibly second to the Legion of Boom. Add a little bit of pass rush (SEE BELOW), and we have a top 10 defense.
Sign - Jon Asamoah, OG - Guard is the biggest position of need on our O-line, and Asamoah would be a big upgrade. He was benched halfway through the season because of Geoff Schwartz flat out playing better, but Asamoah is still a good quality starting guard. With the solid Blalock manning the other guard spot, our running game might finally work properly.
Sign - Parys Haralson, OLB - The Saints took one of our LB's, so it's only right if we take one of theirs. Haralson would be a good depth signing, especially when our LB core is young and inexperienced. Parys could play a big part in our defense, being a jack of all trades/master of none, and he wouldn't cost us a ton of money either. It would also be nice to get a little revenge.
2014 NFL Draft.
Round 1: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, S. Carolina: Trust me, I would hate if the Falcons traded up for Clowney. And I don't think they will. So that means I think they grab him at six. Here's my reasoning; Texans, Jags, Browns, and Raiders all need QB's. Even if Raiders wait on a QB until Rnd. 2, I think there is a better shot Sammy Watkins goes to them. The Rams definitely do not need a DE, so the only wildcard is if someone trades up with them for the no. 2 pick to get Clowney. That could definitely happen, but for the purposes of this mock draft, I'm assuming the Rams go with Jake Matthews. Now, why Clowney? The better question is: why not Clowney? We all know how great Clowney is, and if he is there at six, it is a no brainer pick. But, there are a few issues. The first is that he's a little bit of a boom or bust prospect (more of a boom or little less of a boom). He has shown what he can do at the collegiate level, but can he do it at the pro level? Most people would answer yes, but there is a possibility he ends up being a big bust. Also, he has had some off the field issues. Now, although these issues were just speeding tickets, that could escalate and become a suspension, jail time, etc. when he becomes the superstar he is set out to be. The bottom line is, Clowney would elevate our defense, and help us become a threat to teams like the 49ers, Seahawks, Packers, and Aints. And right now that is what we need.
Round 2: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, TE, Washington: Tony Gonzalez is gone. As much as I want to believe other wise, it is the truth. What gave our team an edge offensively for three years was the fact that we had two all star receivers, and a great tight end. Teams had to also game plan for our backup wide outs, and our stable of running backs. And even though Gonzalez was great, just think if Jimmy Graham was added instead. Thats what we would be getting with ASJ. Sefarian-Jenkins is an outstanding pass catching TE, who is also a pretty good blocker. He would be the perfect replacement for Gonzo, and he wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg, like Graham would. He was arrested for DUI in 2012, but has since had no off the field issues, and is good friends with our own Desmond Trufant. This would be a big step in the right direction in replacing the greatest tight end of all time.
Round 3 Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia: This pick would be filling a need. With FA acquisitions, our new O-line would look like: LT, S. Baker, G, J. Blalock, C, P. Konz(maybe), G, J. Asomoah, RT, ???. That obviously leaves a big hole on our O-line (the ??) . Some would argue that center is more of a need, but I think we should stick with Peter Konz, (who we did spend a second rounder on) and hope and pray that he can develop into a solid center. Now to get on to the draft pick, Morgan Moses. Moses is a true RT (which we do not have) and could at least compete with Lamar Holmes/Mike Johnson for the starting RT spot. If Moses developed into a good starting RT, we would suddenly have pretty good depth with our OT's considering that Johnson and Holmes would be backups to Moses and Baker. This pick could easily go another way, but I think that it should go towards O-line, no matter what.
Round 4: Kelcy Quarles, DT, S. Carolina: Many scouts have said that the only reason Quarles notched 9.5 sacks this past season was because Jadeveon Clowney was right beside him, and that is why Kelcy isn't a 2nd-3rd round pick. Well, good thing Clowney and Quarles will be on the same team again. Quarles' breakout season was a product of the Clowney effect, where Clowney gets double teamed, and therefore Quarles picks up the TFL or sack. If that same formula would work in Atlanta, we might actually have a solid defensive line. Plus Quarles would be adding some depth, where it is greatly needed.
Round 5: Deandre Coleman, DT, Cal: DEPTH, DEPTH, and some MORE DEPTH. If we let Peria go, then our starters are (most likely) Peters and Babs/Quarles, but we need someone who can come in and can stop the run everyone once in a while. That can be Deandre Coleman. Coleman has great size (6'5") and is a force in stopping the run. He does have some trouble rushing the passer, but fortunately he can be molded into a pass rusher by new defensive line coach Bryan Cox. Coleman would be able to back up Peters very nicely, and would be a great rotational player. Also, did I mention he is 6'5"?
Round 6: Kapri Bibbs, RB, Col. St.: Not many know the name of Kapri Bibbs. But trust me, many will. Mr. Bibbs only played at Colorado State for one year, after transferring from a junior college, and therefore he has flown WAY under the radar. Bibbs had 28 rushing touchdowns, 1741 all purpose yards, and an average of 6.2 ypc. The potential is through the roof for this kid, and he could easily be a starter in the NFL.
Round 7: Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood: We need depth. With only three CB's on the roster, we have to add more, and Desir is perfect. He played very well in the Senior bowl (1 interception), and because of him coming from a smaller school, he could be a huge steal. He has great size (6'2" and 195 lbs.), and could compete for the nickel corner spot, and serve as a good backup to our young CB's.
Thanks for reading! Please leave feedback on everything, and don't be afraid to say your opinion. Thanks again. DIRTYBIRD88