Big ass news roundup from Steve Wyche of the AJC, featuring a few points I'd like to briefly touch on with thoughts of my own. The team evidently plans to tender Matt Schaub, which I think is an excellent plan...but then they should turn around and trade him. It's pretty clear they're not going to use him in favor of Vick, and Shockley can probably handle the backup reigns, so...get maximum value out of him. If he ends up starting when Vick gets injured and does terrible, you've suddenly got a not-so great backup QB with little trade value. Now's the time to get the most we can out of him before that opportunity arises. If I thought for a second they might actually start him in the next two years, I'd say keep him, but it's not going to happen. Adios, Schaub.
Kerney, as previously mentioned, should be given either a fresh contract or the door. Franchising him would take away more or less all of the team's financial flexibility, and that's something we sorely need. Ashley Lelie should be out on his ass regardless of what happens; the team can pick up a seventh round receiver to replace him and get approximate value, in my opinion. Justin Griffith is the one I'm torn about. He was great for the system in place but might lose out because he's not the hulking, straight-forward pile pusher Petrino prefers (lot of P's there), but I suspect he'd still do well in Petrino's system. Out of the three, I'd say it would be perhaps the hardest to replace Kerney, but Griffith is a very close second. And he'll come a hell of a lot cheaper, if it comes down to it. Despite Lelie's rep as a deep threat, don't bother with him at all. So can the Falcons get the other two for a reasonable price? I really, really hope so.
They're talking about either LaRon Landry or Reggie Nelson for the Falcon's top pick, and I'd be thrilled to get a young, talented safety out of the draft. But Wyche makes a damn good point that I'll repeat for the second or third time: if Kerney leaves, this team needs to decide whether they're sinking or swimming with Chauncey Davis. If the answer is sinking, that first round pick has to go for a defensive end. If the answer is even treading water, the safety is a huge need and Landry and Nelson seem like very safe picks. My vote is for Nelson or Landry, because I personally have enough faith in Davis that I think he can at least capably plug the hole for a couple years. But it's surprising how much of this offseason could hinge on what happens with Patrick Kerney, a guy most Falcons' fans assumed would be here for the long haul.
And finally, Hartwell might be slow to recover and the team is keeping Dunn. Neither of those surprise me in the slightest, but it sure is nice to have Norwood and Jordan Beck available, isn't it?