If it feels like an uneven offseason, that is probably because it has been. The front office can't feel great about how free agency and the draft shook out.
The Falcons were briefly confusingly linked to Redskins OLB Brian Orakpo. The connection was pretty odd consider Atlanta was predominantly a 4-3 defense before the news broke that the Falcons were shifting to a 3-4. The Redskins decided to apply the franchise tag to Orakpo at the last minute, removing the only elite pass rusher from the market.
The Falcons very publicly tried to trade up for South Carolina OLB Jadeveon Clowney. The Johnny Football trade stopped Atlanta from trading up for Auburn OLB Dee Ford before he was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs. And if you wanted a reason to hate Jerry Jones, the Cowboys jumped Atlanta to select BYU OLB Demarcus Lawrence.
The Falcons went with Plan... E? OLB Prince Shembo is apparently ILB Prince Shembo.
With the Atlanta Falcons shut down at every chance to actually address the pass rush problem we have had for years, there is this news:
#Chiefs star OLB Justin Houston skipped OTAs today. I’m told he wants a new contract. He has a year left on his rookie deal at $1.4M.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 27, 2014
The 6-foot-3, 258-pound OLB just turned 25 a few months ago and the new General Manager in Kansas City just drafted Ford in the first round. The team also has veteran Tamba Hali and has apparently been trying to give Alex Smith an extension. The Chiefs will at some point be getting rid of either Hali or Houston, and may be motivated to get rid of Houston if a team is willing to give a nice offer for the young pass rusher.
While their new General Manager had nothing to do with drafting Houston, Atlanta happens to employ their old General Manager. Scott Pioli hasn't been shy pushing for his old players as Atlanta signed DE Tyson Jackson and OG Jon Asamoah. We can slowly become the Atlanta Chiefs.
But seriously, Houston had a 10 sack season in 2012 and put up 11 sacks in only 11 games in 2013. He was projected to be a late 1st round draft pick but sunk after testing positive for marijuana at the draft and many were concerned with his tendency to disappear for stretches.
Houston wouldn't be cheap. Potentially costing two 2nd round picks or even a 1st round pick, if not a bit more, Houston could be the team's 2014 John Abraham. If Atlanta was willing to trade both 1st round picks, and more, for Clowney, they would look pretty smart if they managed to get Houston and Jake Matthews instead.