Free agency hasn't opened yet, but the Falcons are moving to re-sign a couple of their own players and add a new one.
Falcons sign DL Cliff Matthews and FB Patrick DiMarco to contract extensions.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) February 24, 2015
These are both mild surprises. DiMarco has had a couple of costly mistakes during his two years with the team, but he's generally a solid blocker for the fullback position, he can catch and will likely come cheap. The Falcons are entirely revamping their blocking scheme and likely their running back depth chart, and clearly feel like the athletic DiMarco can be a useful lead blocker. I have no argument against that, and at 25 years old he still has time to grow into a terrific fullback.
Matthews is a bigger surprise. It's easy to forget that he's still just 25 years old, because he's been with the team for the last four seasons after the Falcons drafted him out of South Carolina back in 2011. Matthews is an effective run stopper at defensive end and can occasionally kick inside as a light defensive tackle, making him a useful reserve. It's safe to assume Quinn liked that run stopping ability, and it's possible he sees enough to get Matthews more involved on defense going forward. For now, though, I assume Matthews will be utilized as a substitute defensive end in Quinn's 4-3 defense, and I have absolutely no problem with that.
As a few of you have pointed out, Matthews is also a valuable special teamer. It's safe to assume Keith Armstrong stumped for him.
It's worth noting that these guys will probably get close to the veteran minimum, so they're not guaranteed jobs. I do think both will wind up sticking with the team, however.
Falcons also sign WR Nick Williams— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) February 24, 2015
I make no such assumptions about Williams, a 24-year-old former Redskin who played in five games for the team back in 2013, catching three passes for 15 yards and fumbling once. He did return kicks for the Redskins during the final two games of the 2013 season, and was an excellent returner in college, so it's possible if unlikely this is more than just a "hey, I know Kyle Shanahana!" type of signing. The team does need an infusion of youth at wide receiver, but unless Williams has some secret superpowers no one else is privy to, he's likely just a camp body for this team. As is the case with all new signings, I'll hope he'll be able to offer the Falcons something.