I wanted to see if there was any fire to go with the smoke around Marcus McNeill before I posted this.
It appears that we're not the only ones connecting the dots between McNeill and the Falcons, who have serious offensive line questions heading into 2012. D. Orlando Ledbetter makes a good case for the Falcons signing McNeill, and I don't think it's one we should dismiss out of hand.
Basically, DOL's reasons for thinking this is a marriage made in free agent heaven are as follows:
- The Falcons need to upgrade the offensive line. While Will Svitek played well at left tackle this last year, he wasn't a great run blocker and the Falcons should try to give him a little competition. Sam Baker is not that competition.
- He won't cost much. McNeill is unlikely to be cleared by San Diego's doctors due to concerns over his neck, and teams are leery of paying big money to players who are uncertain to play. The Falcons can probably scoop him off the scrap heap on a one-year contract with heavy incentives. If he doesn't work out, it'll cost them relatively little for the gamble.
- The upside is considerable. When healthy, McNeill is a multi-time Pro Bowler and one of the biggest tackles in the NFL. There's no doubt in my mind that at 28 years old, a healthy McNeill is an instant upgrade at tackle for the Falcons.
A properly structured contract would give the team minimal risk in case he can't recover fully, while still giving them at worst a pretty good backup and at best a definite upgrade at left tackle. Frankly, I don't see how they can go wrong kicking the tires on McNeill.
Do you agree?