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The Atlanta Falcons Free Agent Class Of 2014

What you need to know about impending free agents.

Kevin C. Cox

The 2013 NFL season hasn't begun, so I know it might seem a little weird to zero in on 2014 NFL free agency.

Given that there are some key players on this particular list, I thought it would be worth debating who the Atlanta Falcons want to attempt to re-sign before 2014 free agency opens, and who they will let walk away.

With an assist from Rotoworld's contract tracker, here's those Falcons who will be sans contract when the 2014 league year opens up. There are nine in total.

  • DT Jonathan Babineaux
  • TE Chase Coffman
  • CB Dominique Franks
  • C/G Joe Hawley
  • DT Peria Jerry
  • G/T Mike Johnson
  • DT Corey Peters
  • QB Matt Ryan
  • S Shann Schillinger
Right now, we can safely assume that Franks, Jerry and Schillinger will not be coming back, and none are even locks to make this roster in 2013. Coffman, Hawley and Babineaux could be allowed to walk, depending on player growth at their positions and what direction the team goes in for the 2014 NFL Draft. Still, there's a couple of concerns here.

  1. You can't go in 2014 with your franchise quarterback unsigned. The Falcons are working on getting Ryan locked up, thankfully, but if they could not it would be DEFCON 1 for the Falcon faithful.
  2. Losing Hawley and Johnson on the line would damage the team's depth, unless some young guys take a huge step forward. I'd prefer they signed Johnson, assuming some of their young UDFA types continue to develop.
  3. The defensive tackle position would be barren if the Falcons lost all three of Babs, Jerry and Peters. That would leave Travian Robertson and perhaps Adam Replogle to man the position, which is neither realistic nor desirable. Expect the team to sign at least one, if not two, of these guys in addition to a free agent or high round draft pick.
Your thoughts on the 2014 Atlanta Falcons free agents?