Teams chose to not tender a host of players yesterday, making it absolutely clear that new CBA or no, there's going to be a wealth of unrestricted free agents for the Atlanta Falcons to sift through.
I can't possibly provide a blurb on everybody--it would also be boring and borderline worthless to do so--but I can highlight a few guys that the Falcons might actually have interest in. This is all conditional on the league and players reaching an accord in the coming weeks, but I think I've said that enough by now. You get it.
After the jump, find a quick list of UFAs.
WR James Jones: I've made this pitch before, but aside from Sidney Rice, there's not a free agent receiver out there who I like more. Pro Football Focus ranked him in the top ten in the NFL for broken tackles and yards after the catch, and he's absolutely punishing in that regard. The drops and route-running issues might scare you away, but I expect the Falcons will take a very hard look at Jones to see if they think those are fixable. If they are, you might see him in red and black in 2011.
CB Michael Adams: Just 26 years old, Adams was a competent nickel back for the Cardinals last season, picking up five tackles on special teams and intercepting two passes. If the Falcons want to replace Brian Williams with someone younger, they could do worse than Adams, who would be a nice fit as a dime package guy while Dominique Franks continues to develop. If Chris Owens struggles again, he could be a little more than that.
DE Vernon Gholston: A colossal bust who flopped at defensive end and outside linebacker, Gholston's last productive season was an eye-popping one...in college. The Falcons could give him a shot as a defensive end again and see if a change of scenery would motivate him, but he'll be a hard sell.
RB Kevin Smith: A talented back with huge injury problems, making him a little like Jerious Norwood. When healthy, he's a very effective backup, so expect the Falcons to vigorously kick his tires, which may deflate. Then expect the Falcons to whistle nonchalantly and walk away.
OT Ryan O'Callaghan: A starter for the Chiefs as recently as 2009 at right tackle. He'd be a very good backup, at minimum, should the Falcons decide to let Tyson Clabo walk away and get Garrett Reynolds going as the starter. He could also step in if Reynolds falters. That's all purely situational, but he could still be of interest.
TE Steven Spach: A quality blocking tight end, Spach would likely come cheaper than Justin Peelle, if the team elects to send him packing this off-season. Really only an option as a stopgap if the Falcons want a veteran behind Tony Gonzalez while Michael Palmer, Marquez Branson and/or a possible draft pick develop.
RB Garrett Wolfe: An extremely low-cost option at running back, the smallish Wolfe can catch a little, run a little and play some special teams. He's really only an option if Gartrell Johnson and Antone Smith get booted to the curb this off-season, because he doesn't offer enough to be more than a third back. Brandon Jackson was released and is basically useful for pass-blocking and pass-catching, so he could get a brief look, as well.
WR Chansi Stuckey: The very epitome of a possession receiver, Stuckey was released by the receiver-needy Browns, which should tell you all you need to know about him. Hey, look! It's the bottom of the barrel.
Got a surefire UFA you want the Falcons to sign? Talk about him here.