Thomas Dimitroff’s 2009 draft class was a lousy one, but it was a lousy draft class for many franchises. Did he fare any better in free agency?
In a word: No, but it wasn’t because the Falcons struck out a ton. They just didn’t make much of a free agent splash in a year where their biggest move (and by far their most successful) was trading for future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez.
Let’s dive into the heart of free agency this year and judge the Falcons’ most impactful acquisitions on the 1-5 scale we’ve used for 2008 and the 2008 and 2009 NFL drafts.
The biggest move by a wide margin was the Peterson signing. Mo Pete played in all but one game for the Falcons from 2009 to 2012, starting 36 of them, and he transitioned smoothly from being a quality full-time starter to an extremely valuable veteran reserve. That was a smart signing that wound up opening the Jacksonville pipeline.
Romberg played in 11 games for the Falcons and was a fine reserve. Marty Booker didn’t do much, and that’s really about it for impactful free agents in 2009. The Falcons simply didn’t make much of a splash here.
Infuriatingly, the Falcons had Steven Hauschka under contract, but ultimately wound up letting him go with Jason Elam in the fold. No one’s going to complain about how great Matt Bryant has been, but Hauschka remains one of the better young kickers in the NFL.
You know what? All three of our comparison teams fared poorly in free agency in 2009, so we’re just gonna keep this one moving. You don’t need charts to know that.
What we see
There were some legendary players drafted and acquired in 2009, but overall, the NFL fared poorly in both the draft and free agency this year, which tends to happen every few years. The Falcons don’t stand out as an outlier, and their relatively quiet offseason (minus, again, the Gonzalez trade) could be considered a small point in Thomas Dimitroff’s favor, given that the dollars flying around didn’t bring many wins in for the rest of the NFL.
I’ll leave that one up to you, but this is a blip on the radar, whether you like Dimitroff’s free agent history or not.