We’ve speculated this offseason that the Falcons might not bring back Jonathan Babineaux, the longest-tenured player on the team and one of the finest defensive tackles ever to wear an Atlanta jersey. In an Instagram post today, Babineaux appears to have implied as much.
There has been nothing from the team, but the fact that he’s thanking fans at this point in the offseason (and using the past tense stayed) is a strong enough indicator that I think we need to pay attention to it. Whether Babineaux decides to retire after being one of the most consistent DTs in the league from 2005-2016 or moves on to another team, he’ll go down as a player who deserves consideration for the team’s Ring of Honor. He was durable, underrated, and effective for such a long time.
With the start of free agency approaching on March 9 and the team expected to revamp its defensive tackle rotation, we’ll learn soon enough what’s going on with Babineaux and other Falcons free agents. My money is on the Falcons electing to let Babineaux walk, considering cutting Tyson Jackson, and using free agency and the draft to add talent.
We’ll see how this plays out, but we’d like to thank Babineaux, too. He’ll always be one of my favorite Falcons, and I will hate to see him go.