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Evidence That Stephen Nicholas Would Be A Popular Free Agent

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ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 11:  Stephen Nicholas #54 of the Atlanta Falcons nearly intercepts a pass intended for Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens at Georgia Dome on November 11 2010 in Atlanta Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 11: Stephen Nicholas #54 of the Atlanta Falcons nearly intercepts a pass intended for Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens at Georgia Dome on November 11 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Everyone made it clear the last time around that they would like to keep Stephen Nicholas on the Falcons, but as I've said before, interest in his services is likely to be high.

That's reflected by the fact that he's now coming up in free agent speculation posts at other SBN sites, including our friends over at Turf Show Times. They conclude that he would be a nice fit for them—heck, for most teams—but if he ends up being restricted, he may be out of their price range.

One of of the facets of a lockout resolution that doesn't come up as often as it did three months ago is what will happen to players with four or five years of service time. My assumption has long been that four year players will be unrestricted and five year players will not, but I'm still wary.

The Falcons should make every effort to keep Nicholas around, and I expect they will unless he ends up 1) unrestricted and 2) extremely expensive. At the very least, his versatility and talent make him a great backup for the team. With Mike Peterson aging and Akeem Dent still very young, they could use someone of his caliber to add stability to the corps.

What is clear is that he's going to get plenty of attention if he makes it to the open market. Let's hope he doesn't.