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Falcons free agency: Our team shares wisdom about the signings thus far

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Here's what we know about free agency thus far.

Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Rutherford

Started out hot, ended with a bore. Wait...that's familiar, isn't it?

The Falcons started free agency off with a bang by signing highly coveted center Alex Mack. They then brought in one of the potential steals of free agency in Derrick Shelby and then paid top dollar for potential in Mohamed Sanu. Overall, it's been a little underwhelming for me. It was no secret the Falcons desperately needed linebacker help and as much as I love Sean Weatherspoon, he's simply not the answer. The LBs were out there, but with the recent PR disaster it doesn't surprise me at all that neither Trevathan nor Freeman signed with us. That means the answer either lies with James Laurinitis, who might be worse than Worrilow, or a rookie, which is probably a disaster waiting to happen. I have no doubt that Alex Mack - if healthy - will provide a monumental boost to the offensive line. Our offensive tackles are outstanding. If we can just have average play from the guard position, not even Shanahan's "This isn't for stone feet QB like the one I have under center" offense could slow us down.

Quinn turned our defense around mostly with players we already had, so I have faith that he has communicated what he needs to the front office. I'll assume that the ones we really needed (Mack), we've gotten, and that Quinn is ready to work with whoever new comes in. It's not really been a sexy free agency period, but I think it's one Falcons fans will be happy with when we hit the field this fall.

The DW

The Falcons moves were sensible...mostly
When free agency officially started, there was just one signing that I wanted: Alex Mack. After having seen what good center play looked like with Todd McClure, and what poor center play has looked like since, I felt that center was the one position we could not afford to skip over this year. While you can draft a rookie in the later rounds, it is exceedingly rare that those guys can come in and play at a high level and contribute to the line-calls like a veteran can. Simply put, Mack will make the entire offensive line better. I liked the Shelby signing and having Schaub next to Ryan can only help since he knows the offense so well. While we may have overpaid for Sanu, I don't think it's the apocalypse that others are making it out to be. The team may not have addressed every hole on the roster, but it was a solid start. I suspect more moves will be made after the draft to try and shore up the depth of the roster even more. It wasn't a splashy free agency, but it was sensible.

Dave Choate

Where we're going, we don't need free agents.

The Falcons clearly have a plan for free agency, the draft, and the roster in general. I just have no idea what that plan entails, at this point.

Getting Alex Mack majorly upgraded center, Mohamed Sanu is an intriguing (if not established) option at wide receiver, and Derrick Shelby, Adrian Clayborn, and even Charles Godfrey are fine players. But if you want me to explain to you who is playing linebacker, whether Godfrey is really going to start at safety, or where the pass rush is coming from, I've got nothing for you. The draft and those late free agent signings should give us some clarity, but I have a hunch that the Falcons are going to be much more reliant on players already on the roster than we might have suspected.

Matt Chambers

Here we go again!


Every time I think the Falcons have turned a corner, the offseason will inevitably drag fans back to earth. Except this offseasons started with the rocky breakup with WR Roddy White, coaches pushing scouts, and asking prospects about their sexual preference. Similar to Kanye West music, my expectations were low, but I just end up confused and frustrated.

There is no question that Alex Mack is a great player, and the interior offensive line cost Atlanta multiple wins last season. At the same time, is Mack worth over twice the cost of the younger Ben Jones? Maybe. Maybe not. As I am certain every other free agency discussion will curse the contract given to Mohamed Sanu, I think that topic should be well covered. I like Derrick Shelby and bringing back Adrian Clayborn. Matt Schaub has the potential of being an unmitigated disaster.

I suppose I do not have a problem with any specific (non-Sanu) player, but I am very confused with the team's plan through free agency. With limited draft picks, they needed to have a great free agency. Now they need to have a fantastic draft. That feels unlikely, but I'm still puzzled with how the 2016 will be put together. If other years are any indication, the answer will be both "not well" and "incompletely."

Kendall Jackson

I've been pretty cynical about the Falcons after last season's debacle, but I cast that pessimism aside since there was potential for this team to fill some of their holes in free agency. They vastly upgraded at center — a problem position for the past three seasons — by signing Alex Mack. They brought in veteran backup quarterback in Matt Schaub, and Derrick Shelby should give Atlanta a boost in the pass rushing department. Re-signing Adrian Clayborn and bringing back Sean Weatherspoon were fine moves, too.

What really puts a damper on the Falcons' free agency is the failure to upgrade at middle linebacker with Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan available, and the Mohamed Sanu signing, of course. I'm not sure how the Falcons couldn't grab either of those guys.

The Falcons are expecting a lot from Sanu, a guy who was the Cincinnati Bengals' fifth option last season. He finished with 33 receptions for 394 yards and zero receiving touchdowns — compare that to Roddy White's stat line. In 2014, Sanu was thrust into a bigger role due to injuries, and while he posted career-highs with 56 catches for 790 yards and five touchdowns, he also led the league in drops. I'm not sure what Sanu brings to the table that makes him worthy of the deal Atlanta signed him to.

Here's to next season playing out differently than I expect it to.

Allen Strk

Despite multiple positive moves, there is still a lot to be desired.

Compared to past off-seasons, this is one of the better ones for Thomas Dimitroff and the front office. That isn't saying much compared to years of not making any impact signings or over-spending on one dimensional run stuffers. It was refreshing to see them show ambition and sign a player like Alex Mack. Although the star center wasn't on my free agent wish list, nobody can complain about a quality player filling a massive need. Mack should also solve Atlanta's problems with handling A-gap blitzes.

Signing Derrick Shelby was a pleasant surprise. The versatile defensive lineman was on my free agency wish list. After Tamba Hali re-signed with Kansas City, Shelby was the best mid-level option out there. He should fit nicely as their strong side defensive end within their base package. Similar to Adrian Clayborn, Dan Quinn has mentioned using him inside on their nickel packages. At 27 years old, Shelby is entering his prime and looks primed to finally be a full-time starter after replacing Cameron Wake last season.

Those were the only two standout moves. Sean Weatherspoon's return provides some intrigue. The fan favorite will always be adored in Atlanta, but he hasn't been productive since 2012. It's difficult to depend on such an injury prone player. Adrian Clayborn is a decent rotational player that showed flashes of brilliance. If you read any major sports outlet, nobody is hiding their criticism of Mohamed Sanu being signed to a lucrative contract. A wide receiver that is known for his versatility on gadget plays and deep ball as a quarterback isn't going to inspire much optimism towards solving Atlanta's number two receiver conundrum. If he can't separate in man coverage and drops several passes (14 on 76 targets in 2014), this will end badly.

In the end, their inability to sign marquee free agents such as Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman, and Travis Benjamin is disappointing. The gaping holes at linebacker aren't going anywhere. Deciding to invest in a wide receiver that doesn't excel at particularly anything over multiple three-down linebackers will leave a bitter taste looking back on this free agency class.