That's more like it! We got a great response this week, and I wanted this to run before this week's open media session at organized team activities, because we'll have plenty of other things to talk about afterwards. Hence the Tuesday morning mailbag.
Let's get to your questions.
@TheFalcoholic does Hageman crack the starting lineup by Week 1?— Rise Up Reader (@RiseUpReader) June 8, 2014
This is a popular question. Hageman will need to show well once the Falcons put on pads and hit, and while that's within the realm of possibility, I don't think he's going to be a guy that shows up at training camp looking like the second coming of young Albert Haynesworth. The Falcons have Tyson Jackson, Jonathan Babineaux, Paul Soliai and Malliciah Goodman who should all be healthy and in-line for significant roles early, so I can't see Hageman being a true starter right at the beginning of the season.
He should be in line for plenty of snaps if he hits the learning curve running, though.
Dave, Do you think if the falcons make some noise during the season, clinching a play off spot, they would consider bringing Tony back on board for a play off run? I know there are a myriad of complications with that thought but I still think they could make it happen? especially after the disappointment of last season.
Obviously he wouldn’t be as productive or see as many snaps as last year but I would love to see that happen.
I can't see this happening. By the end of Gonzalez's tenure in Atlanta, it was clear that while his teammates still loved him, he was frustrated, angry at how the season had played out and perhaps even feuding with the front office, with the retirement stalemate pointing to discord. I'm not ruling out Gonzalez coming back to the NFL, but I bet if it happens, it'll be on another football team.
Do you think there is anybody with trade value that is also expendable?
Depends on what you mean by trade value. Akeem Dent may very well be expendable, depending on the development of other young linebackers, but he's on the last year of his contract, he's not widely perceived as a big-time player and you'd be lucky to get a seventh round pick for him.
That's more or less the case everywhere. No one who is truly expendable has decent trade value, and the only move I can see the Falcons making is alleviating the logjam at linebacker or defensive line with a trade that might fetch a sixth or seventh round pick. In other words, don't hold your breath.
I've been watching the NFL top 100
There are so many beast Dline and olb’s on there not in a falcons uni. Excluding OSI cause we got him late in his career, do you see any falcons on this roster that can become a monster for years to come at those positions? I think peter weerlu…ahem Paul worrilow could be it if he continues getting stronger and working on his football IQ.
I do believe there are players who have that kind of potential, albeit on a small handful at this point.
Hageman tops the list for me. He's young, powerful and capable, and if he ever becomes the consistently great player we all hope he will, he should be a perennially top ten defensive lineman. There may be a diamond in the rough at linebacker, and given that we saw both Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu show real flashes in UDFA rookie seasons, they would be strong choices. Aside from that, I think most of the young players on this roster will likely top out as good players. If enough of them do that, though, we won't be complaining.
Why is it so rare that any Atlanta Falcons grace the NFL "top 100" player lists? Kansas City, even when they stank like re-heated natto, had a bunch of players make it to the top 100.
I couldn't give you one great, concrete answer to this, but there are many factors at play. The Falcons only became a good team in the last decade, really, Atlanta tends to be an underappreciated sports town, they haven't won a Super Bowl so it's easier to say "well, Matt Ryan's never won a Super Bowl" and some good-old fashioned snubbing. There are legitimate reasons, too—there are better QBs than Ryan, more productive/healthy receivers than Julio, etc.—so you combine that and you get a team without a lot of players on the list.
To answer an inquiry from panttera in the same breath, I expect Ryan to be in the 30's-40's in the NFL's Top 100 list. Maybe I'm overly optimistic.
Late offseason pickups
Any guess on a late offseason cast off or trade the F.O. Might pull off?
This is a tough one. I don't have any particular players in mind, as I've said before, because you never know who teams are going to be willing to part with.
If we're asking about positions, there's real possibilities. The Falcons could shop for a tight end to add to a pretty weak depth chart there, knocking Jake Pedersen or Mickey Shuler off the team. They could try to swing a trade for a useful pass rusher at outside linebacker, where the team still has major question marks. They could look for another big body to back up Paul Soliai, another useful receiver or even one more veteran backup at safety. The Falcon have shown us repeatedly that they're willing to make a trade or pick a guy off the scrap heap if they feel he can be an upgrade, so I wouldn't rule out more moves under any circumstances.
My best guess is a receiver.
Dave, shouldn't the Falcons keep a player I like because I've judged him to be good and he's scrappy or makes me laugh with comic antics?
Depends on two factors: His Zaniness Quotient (ZQ, on a sliding scale from 1-15) and his can-do attitude. If he scores highly in both of those metrics, he should be starting. If not, he should be cut immediately in favor of a player with a better gimmick.
With the current state of the economy
Should I set my taxes at married or married withhold at higher single rate?
Are you married?