When the off-season began, I was not alone in predicting that Jason Snelling would draw signifcant interest across the league.
After all, Big Snell is a relatively young back who runs well (4.1 yards per carry average over parts of four seasons), blocks well and can catch a pass or two ( 7.9 yards per catch as a career average). Not exceptional, but for a former seventh-round pick, it's actually superb. Given Michael Turner's struggles with injuries, ineffectiveness and stone hands over the last season or two, Snelling has been a terrific reserve.
It was fair to assume that those talents would be in demand on the open market, but the rapid devaluation of running backs has reached a peak in 2011. Ronnie Brown is a former Pro Bowler and took peanuts to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. Snelling, who is arguably as valuable as Brown, has met with the Rams, Giants and Chiefs and walked away without a deal.
Now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that Jason Snelling has a deal on the table from the Falcons, but he obviously hasn't taken it. There's no word on how many years or how much money is involved in that deal, so I can't tell whether Snell is turning his nose up at a good deal or trying to get something that will actually pay the bills.
At this point, it appears that Snelling has no market. His well-rounded skill set is useful for only a handful of teams now, given that many around the NFL have signed new backs, and those teams have no recorded interest in him. The Falcons could use Snelling, because the alternative is the bloodcurdling prospect of Burner going down and being replaced by a 5'7" rookie and Gartrell Johnson. Ye gods.
Given that, it's honestly surprising that Snelling hasn't come back. It appears he'd like a shot at more playing time and better money, which is understandable. I'm just not sure he's going to get it, and I'm really not sure whether he's realized that.
So what's going to happen now? Knowing for certain that Big Snell has an offer on the table, I'm more inclined to think he'll eventually return, which already makes yesterday's stab at a roster invalid. But the longer he waits, the less time he has to get ready and the better the chance that Jacquizz Rodgers seizes the #2 spot on the depth chart. He's in a bit of a tough spot.
Ultimately, this whole post has been a fancy way of shrugging my shoulders. I hope Snelling comes back, but I'm unsure he will. What do you think?