In this dull, dusty off-season dominated by lockout talk and the draft, no Falcon has gotten more of my time and ink than Stephen Nicholas. We add another chapter today.
Earlier I passed along a report that the Falcons extended a restricted free agent tender to Nicholas before the deadline. I wasn't quite sure what had come of that tender—neither side said a whole lot—but I thought it was a good-faith effort by the Falcons to keep Nicholas around.
Now we know definitively that Nicholas did not sign that tender, because he told the AJC's D. Orlando Ledbetter so in an interview. Then he casually mentioned his desire to test free agency:
Q: How does this play out for you? Do you want to return to the Falcons?
A: I definitely want to come back. But why not see what’s out there. That’s what anybody would do, test the market. But unfortunately, we have a lockout going on. I’m pretty sure Atlanta respects that.
I don't know about you, but the fact that Nicholas didn't sign the tender and is interested in testing the market re-affirms my fears that he could be snatched away. I would rather have Nicholas around than Mike Peterson, and even though Akeem Dent is coming in, I'm not sure I want to watch our super-sub walk to a linebacker-needy team when he could be helping the Falcons.
That said, I still believe he's likely to get some nice offers in free agency, and the Falcons may not be willing to match them. Time will tell, but Nicholas is certainly hitting the dimmer switch on my hopes right now....and that's with free agency being little more than a glimmer in Roger Goodell's eye.
What say you?