I've been mocked a bit for saying that free agency hasn't started yet, and given the number of widely reported contract agreements we saw today, it's tough to argue I was right. Everything went a little nuts today.
Aside from Frank Gore reneging on his secret handshake agreement with the Eagles, nobody's shown signs of backing out of their reported pacts just yet, and top potential free agents are reportedly agreeing to deals left and right. The Falcons have their own irons in the fire, though we've only had a handful of them strongly linked to Atlanta.
Let's dive in on the Falcons first, then touch upon the rest.
The Falcons are in on Forsett, as expected
Vaughn McClure has been linking the Falcons to Forsett for weeks now, and plugged-in Ravens beats reporter Aaron Wilson confirmed Atlanta's one of the three teams with legitimate interest. Forsett's coming off an incredible year and has very little wear on his tires, but I'm wary of the team overpaying for a guy who probably projects to be a complementary back in Atlanta.
Falcons, Redskins and Colts interested in Ravens free agent running back Justin Forsett, according to league sources— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) March 9, 2015
Falcons targeting defensive help
This one was obvious, and I doubt Brooks Reed and Brian Orakpo represent the only signings the Falcons will be interested in. The Greg Hardy report means the Falcons could legitimately be chasing a top-tier player, albeit one who comes with some suspension concerns, but D. Orlando Ledbetter reported just a little while ago that the team is not interested in him.
If the Falcons don't walk out of this free agency period with multiple linebackers, a pass rusher (who may also be a linebacker) and a new safety, I'll be stunned.
Top-tier players off the market already
Jerry Hughes re-signed with the Bills. Julius Thomas is reportedly heading to the Jaguars. Pernell McPhee is going to Chicago. Devin McCourty is staying in New England, while Byron Maxwell heads to Philadelphia. And so on.
If these reports hold true, several teams will watch their top targets officially sign elsewhere tomorrow. The Falcons weren't particularly likely to wind up with any of these players, but as always, it has a real impact on
The Falcons will need to snap up pass rushers sooner than later if they want them, because Arthur Moats, Brandon Graham and Hughes have already agreed to deals, and more are likely to come within 24 hours of the opening of free agency. I generally preach patience with free agency, but there's little point in denying that the Falcons have a legitimate need they have to get filled, even if they're planning on drafting a pass rusher with the #8 pick.
What reported moves surprised you today?