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Falcons Will Re-Sign Tyson Clabo, May Lose Stephen Nicholas

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With the lockout all but ended, the rumors are hitting the ground like an invading army.

D. Orlando Ledbetter is out in front, running down a host of rumors and trying to make sense of the oncoming blitz of free agency. He’s developed destinations for at least three key Falcons free agents, and he’s drawn likely scenarios for a couple more. In the interest of keeping you informed, I’m going to run down the article quickly now. Be sure to pop over and give the talented DOL a read, too.

Oh, and prepare to visit us several times daily. There’s going to be a hell of a lot of news afoot over the next couple of weeks. 

Tyson Clabo is staying: According to DOL, the Falcons are now expected to match any offer Tyson Clabo gets. This speaks volumes about Garrett Reynolds and Jose Valdez, the two likely candidates if Clabo were to leave, and also to the respect the team has for Clabo. A first-time Pro Bowler, he’s definitely a road-grading offensive tackle. I’m a bit surprised he’s the priority here, but the team is sensitive to the importance of tackles.

Even more surprising is that the team apparently is placing more of a premium on Harvey Dahl than Justin Blalock. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—I don’t understand making signing the older, more penalty-prone player not playing on Matt Ryan’s blindside the priority. Perhaps the Falcons really like Mike Johnson or Andrew Jackson? Bah.

Ray Edwards isn’t coming to Atlanta: You have to wonder if the Falcons are just going to hang tight in free agency, or if they’ve decided Kroy Biermann was much better than his numbers in 2010 (he was). Apparently Edwards is a priority for the Philadelphia Eagles and not the Falcons. Maybe they’ll be tempted to pull the trigger on someone like Charles Johnson, but I doubt that’s a possibility. Look for Abe and Biermann to start again, unless DOL is way out in left field facing the wall.

 Stephen Nicholas is headed to the Giants: This one might necessitate a free agent signing at linebacker, which revives my "Rocky McIntosh is a possibility!" meme from earlier this off-season. If Nicholas goes—and he could, given the interest in him on the open market—the Falcons either need Akeem Dent to step up immediately or sign a stop-gap option to occasionally start and man the backup spots at outside linebacker.

In short, this would represent a major shakeup to conventional wisdom about the team’s off-season. Exciting times, no?