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Report: Falcons interested in Cowboys fullback Keith Smith

Smith will be a free agent on March 14th, and could swiftly sign with Atlanta if the interest is genuine.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys fullback Keith Smith was not set to be a free agent, or at least not one other teams were probably going to get a real crack at. That’s because he was a restricted free agent, and the Cowboys figured to re-sign him at a tender that would be cost-prohibitive for another team.

Instead, Dallas has apparently decided to let Smith hit free agency. Per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Falcons will be interested once he is on March 14th.

Why Smith? As Aaron Freeman at FalcFans has noted, Smith is a pretty punishing lead blocker, one who has worked in tandem with that strong Dallas offensive line to spring Ezekiel Elliott frequently over the last two seasons. Freeman was kind enough to share a couple of examples of these blocks, and they should come with a warning for sexiness.

Smith is an obvious upgrade on Derrick Coleman in the blocking department, though like Coleman, he’s unlikely to have much of a role in the passing game and will almost never tote the ball. He’s a solid special teamer, as well, though it’s possible he’ll prove to be a small downgrade in that department from Coleman, who just capped off an excellent year. At the end of the day, though, you’re looking at a fullback who can pave the way for Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and Smith is a fine choice for that role. He’ll be an upgrade on Derrick Coleman in the department that matters most.

We’ll know on March 14th or shortly thereafter, I suspect, because if the Falcons are genuinely interested they’re unlikely to wait around for Smith to get snapped up by another fullback-needy team. Unless they’re going to spring for Zach Line, a similarly gifted blocker, or go with the well-rounded Anthony Sherman, Smith and Coleman are really the only reasonable free agent options left.