Everyone knows Friday is conjecture day! Let's hear from our special guest star today, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Take it away, DOL:
Cornerback Dunta Robinson ($5.5 million) is the second-highest-paid player on defense, followed by defensive end Jamaal Anderson ($3.558 million), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux ($3.5 million) and safety Erik Coleman ($3 million).
Anderson and Coleman don't project as starters, but have starter base salaries. If the team needs those funds in free agency, it could trade or release those players.
Obviously, Ledbetter has zeroed in on the two guys most likely to be cut, but we're still looking at a big if here. It's not like either Anderson or Coleman is useless, expensive salaries be damned. You've already seen Caleb's take on this.
In my mind, the team is more likely to keep JA98 around than Coleman. He's not the pass-rushing monster he was supposed to be when the Falcons drafted him back in 2007, but he's a great run-stopper and has some positional versatility, lining up at both defensive end and defensive tackle in 2010. Is he worth $3.5 million? I suspect the Falcons will decide that for one more year, at least, he is.
Coleman, meanwhile, is a soon-to-be 29 year old safety. The Falcons have Shann Schillinger and Rafael Bush as potential backups, and could at least consider moving Robert James back there. I think Coleman is an excellent backup to have, but the Falcons have shown an inclination to go young in the secondary and that $3 million might be tempting to throw at a position of greater need.
What say you?