Day one of NFL free agency came and went, and it was eventful, to say the least. If you had any doubt about the Falcons' desire to win now by any means necessary, then
you're a cotton-headed ninnymuggins you may feel a little better after a day full of cut players, free agent acquisitions, and re-signings. To be honest, our front page was blowing up yesterday, so what follows is a recap, just in case you were out of the loop.
The recently-maligned veteran just refused to file his retirement papers. As a result, wanting to get his roster bonus and salary off the books, the Falcons had no choice but to cut him. Maybe he wanted the $3 million roster bonus, or maybe he didn't want the Falcons to have his exclusive rights if he pulls a Brett Fahhhvvvvruuhhhh. In any case, it's some additional drama between the Falcons and Gonzalez that we all could've lived without.
The writing was on the figurative wall for DeCoud. He literally fell off a cliff in 2013, forgetting his ball-hawking ways and devolving into a poor tackling, meowtastic liability. I really liked him, and with any luck, he will find a better fit elsewhere in no time.
Free Agent Acquisitions
Instaupgrade! (I think that's a word)
Dimitroff and his merry band of scouts have clearly grown tired of the turnstile that's been the RG position since Harvey Dahl's departure. Asamoah has the Scott Pioli connection, and apparently that didn't hurt. For the most part, Chiefs fans have nothing but positive things to say about the guy. Terms are 5 years at or around $4.5 million a year. His agent was very eager to point out that he left money on the table, specifically to play for the Falcons.
It's all of a sudden very apparent the Falcons are moving away from a 4-3 defensive scheme. I don't necessarily mind that, because let's be honest, what they were doing last year wasn't working. Soliai not only has an awesome name, he's huge. Weighing in north of 340 pounds, he won't have any problem drawing double teams for the Falcons next season. Contract is worth $33 million over 5 years.
Falcons sign 3-4 DE Tyson Jackson
They say you can't make scheme changes without the right personnel. Jackson, just like Soliai, sets up the 3-4 transition. The former third overall pick is an absolute beast in the running game, notwithstanding his inability to contribute to the pass rush. The total value of his 5 year contract is $25 million.
He of the manliest beard east of the Mississippi won't hit the open market after all. Hawley took the heir apparent's job from him, no small feat on a team that's all too comfortable sticking with Plan A. Hawley earned himself a 2 year contract worth $6.5 million, more than some of you probably expected to pay. That said, I'll say this: there's a decent possibility, given his play at the tail end of last season, that Hawley's going to start at center in 2014. If that weren't true, there'd be absolutely no reason to give him that sort of contract.
Falcons re-sign Jonathan Babineaux
The USS Babs will return in 2014, kicking off a 3 year contract worth about $9 million. Rest assured, he gave us a discount and it's a team friendly deal. In exchange, Babs gets to play out his career for Atlanta, the team that drafted him. He too can fit into the Falcons' plans for a 3-4 conversion, having experience playing defensive end in the past.
So there you have it. Busy day at Flowery Branch. Don't sleep today as more moves as sure to come down the pipeline. We will also have more specifics about the above-listed contracts as they become available. For all you math crunchers out there, it's going to be difficult to pin down the remaining available cap space in the interim. But the Falcons likely have plenty left in their piggy bank, so kick back, grab a Natty Lite, and enjoy the show.