Free agency kicks off in just over a week. And 2014's free agency, just like the draft, will offer lots of talent. In addition to the big name guys, there are many special teams aces and depth players who will hit the open market. These aren't starter quality players, but they're players that can arguably serve as quality depth and, if necessary, see regular playing time in a pinch.
What follows isn't a complete list, to be sure. But these are some players the Falcons should, at least in theory, consider signing.
- CB Perrish Cox (49ers): Plays dime on occasion, but has excelled on coverage and return units. He bounced between the 49ers and the Seahawks last season. He actually played CB full-time while Carlos Rodgers was injured in January. Heck, he can't be any worse than Dominique Franks.
- LB Dekoda Watson (Bucs): He's absolutely dominated in the gunner role. Known for his freakish athleticism, he'd be a project at linebacker. He's been described as a "marginal starter" because he does have potential outside his special teams ability.
- LB Adam Hayward (Bucs): Captained the Bucs' special teams last season, he's past his prime as a linebacker. He's known as a fantastic locker room guy who's on the decline physically. He does have starting experience as an outside linebacker.
- S John Wendling (Lions): Played just one snap with the defense in 2013, and his impact is primarily as a special teamer. The Lions pretty much kept him around just for that reason over the past 4 seasons. Plus he's got mad hops!
- FB John Kuhn (Packers): Versatile bruiser that excels as a run and pass blocker. He's pretty much a football Renaissance Man, capable of contributing in multiple phases. Kuhn is 31 now, and the Falcons already have some FB prospects in Brady Ewing and Patrick DiMarco.
- CB Sherrick McManis (Bears): Played with the Bears' defense on occasion. Won ST Player of the Week once 2 years ago and has an uncanny nose for the football. He's basically thought of as a capable reserve and special teams guru. Again, can't be much worse than Franks.
These are just a few possibilities. Not exactly the big splash variety free agents that make you want to smack Dave's momma, but the Falcons will need camp bodies and depth. Signing one or two of these players would accomplish that.