Report: Falcons Looking At Veteran Free Agent Inside Linebackers

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons may hit the bargain bin for a shot at a veteran inside linebacker.

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Falcons are being linked to at least three inside linebackers in free agency after losing Sean Weatherspoon for the 2014 season.

Go ahead and crush those James Harrison dreams now, to start with. The remaining three are names no one is going to get overly excited about, but if the Falcons are indeed in the market for veteran linebacker help, they're all potential signings. Certainly I like one of these guys better than the others.

We'll start with Jonathan Vilma. The former Saint has been declining for a couple of years now and was hurt for most of last season, so unless he's got a late career renaissance in him, the 32-year-old isn't going to be a huge asset for this team. His familiarity with the Saints is a plus, and he's always had a knack for finding his way to the ball, so if he's truly healthy there's a chance he'd offer some upside for this team. Obviously he's not a real popular guy in this fanbase—I'm probably not alone in disliking Vilma, is what I'm saying—but the team isn't going to let that deter them if they like Vilma, and Rapoport believes they do.

Dobbins has been a part-time starter for the Texans for a while now. At 31 and having played in just three games a year ago, he may be the least inspiring option on this list. Again, you'd be paying for veteran savvy here, as I don't think Dobbins would even be that competitive for a starting job.

Angerer is a little different. At 27, he's started 28 games over the last three seasons for the Indianapolis Colts, but he's never been a tremendous player, just a solid tackler. I'd view Angerer as a clear backup in Atlanta, and even though he's younger, I'm not sure how much upside he's really going to have.

Hopefully, the Falcons will give Joplo Bartu and Prince Shembo chances to start in Weatherspoon's spot, because they're already in Atlanta, both are young and both have real potential. If they're hellbent on a stopgap, or they just want useful veteran depth, Vilma may well be the best option. I'm not necessarily thrilled with that, but if the Falcons are going for, they should go with the best option available or wait until after roster cutdown and see if anyone decent gets the axe. Again, I'm not opposed to sticking with options already on the roster.

Your thoughts?

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