Devin Hester will be in Atlanta today to meet with the Falcons' brass, per Vaughn McClure:
Devin Hester is visiting the Falcons today, per source,— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) March 18, 2014
The Trindon Holliday visit indicated the Falcons were in the market for a dynamic returner, and this visit confirms it. The Falcons ranked 10th in average kick return yardage a year ago and 20th in punt return average, but they were just 29th in total kick returns due to a combination of timidity and other factors. There's little question Hester represents an upgrade.
Hester, 31, had spent his entire career with the Chicago Bears before hitting the open market this year. He averaged 14.2 yards per punt against a career average of 12.3 last year, with a 27.6 yards per kick return average versus a career average of 24.8. Hester led the NFL in total returner yardage. He also caught 23 passes for 242 yards a touchdown last year, adding to his career total of 217 catches, 2,807 yards and 14 touchdowns.
While he's on the wrong side of 30, Hester probably has a couple more quality years left. He's a limited asset as a receiver at this stage of his career and would likely be the Falcons' fourth-or-fifth option at best, but there's no question he'd immediately become the best returner the team has had since peak Eric Weems, giving special teams a considerable boost.
We'll keep you posted if a signing should come, but for now this is an interesting visit. Your thoughts?