Per D. Orlando Ledbetter, the Falcons have signed cornerback and returner Javier Arenas to a one-year deal in the near future:
Falcons agree to one-year deal with Arenas http://t.co/HbmUakJtEK— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) March 18, 2014
This is not the kind of signing that immediately draws cheers from the fanbase, and with good reason. The 26-year-old, 5'9" cornerback was a second-round draft pick in 2010, but disappointed in three seasons with the Chiefs, managing four sacks and two picks and struggling in coverage. Last year he played for the Arizona Cardinals, seeing action in all 16 games but drawing no starters and failing to make an impact at cornerback. He's likely going to be viewed as a fourth corner in Atlanta, and I doubt he could beat out Robert McClain for any significant snaps as the nickel corner. That's where he'll play if injuries strike or the Falcons kick McClain out wide at times, though.
And yes, Scott Pioli did draft Javier Arenas. Why do you ask?
He's also a sure-handed if distinctly mediocre kick returner who had zero punt returns for the Cardinals a year ago, so it's difficult to see him being a sizable upgrade over Jacquizz Rodgers, Harry Douglas, Robert McClain and whoever else the Falcons had planned to throw at returner if they stood pat there. He averaged just 21.4 yards per return for Arizona a year ago.
The only way this signing makes any sense is as cornerback depth and a fallback option as a returner, or if the Falcons think there's untapped talent they can coax out of Arenas given that he's only 26 years old. Otherwise, I'm a little baffled as to why they would hand the keys to the return game over to him. I don't think this signing does or should rule out Devin Hester, bolded for emphasis.
More information to come, I'm sure. Your thoughts?