NFL Analysis: Potential Free Agents for Atlanta Falcons

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We have reached the free agency doldrums where very little happens (except for Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, and that whole Saints thing) in the NFL a week after the free agent races begin.  Teams have made their plans already, either fixing an area of need with a top talent, re-signing their own players, or waiting out for the cheap free agents before going head first in the draft.

Most top players have long been signed, either Mario WilliamsVincent JacksonCarl NicksCortland Finnegan, etc., have long been gobbled up by teams willing to dish out top dollar for top players.  We are at the far less interesting point in free agency where we see players signed like Early DoucetMatt FlynnAaron RossDeion Branch and other generally yawn worthy players who are expected to have a limited impact next season.

With demand down, it is now a buyers league.  While I do not expect Curtis Lofton to come back to Atlanta, we could plug in a few players still available who would have cap friendly contracts.

Left Tackle. With Atlanta apparently going into next season with Sam "Turnstile" Baker at left tackle, the Falcons should try to improve the depth and competition for the time when Baker gets injured, becomes ineffective (game 1?) or both.  Still available is Marcus McNeill, who claimed he was visiting with Atlanta, and Demetrius Bell.  Both would be nice stop-gaps as they both have questionable injury history, but so does Baker.  The difference is both these tackles can block.  Bell would be a nice addition after playing in a zone blocking scheme in Buffalo, and playing very well in that scheme.  Anthony Collins is still available and had some good play in spot duty for the Bengals.

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Defensive End.  While Atlanta did sign John Abraham last week, there are a few "quality" pass rushers still on the market, specifically Matt Roth and Andre Carter.  Roth came in with a Ray Edwards-esque 3.5 sacks last year, but Carter put up 10 sacks in only 14 games in New England.  Roth would obviously be cheaper, but could be subbed in a rotational player and has played linebacker as well, which could help Mike Nolan with some 3-4 fronts.  Carter is on the wrong side of 30 before having a breakout year for the Patriots.

Running Back.  I am not sure where Atlanta sees running back as far as needs go, but there are a few backs available.  Justin Forsett has limited mileage on him and would sign for minimum money.  He is rather well rounded, but had a poor season playing behind Marshawn Lynch and Seattle's poor run blocking offensive line.  Jacob Hester would not be a poor addition, but would likely serve in a Jason Snelling type role.

Tight End.  I am a fan of Jacob Tamme, who has been the #2 tight end in Indianapolis since a rookie, and could serve very well in the same fashion in Atlanta.  When Dallas Clark went down in 2010, he put up over 600 yards and would substantially improve our tight end depth.  On that note, Dallas Clark is still available, but it would be nice to add some younger players to the offense.

Any other free agents you would like to see come to Atlanta?  Or which of these players do you want to stay far away from the Falcons?

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