Unlike last year when the Falcons made an immediate splash by signing Turner, Atlanta has been very quiet in the 2009 Free Agency signing period. They have mostly concentrated on filling the depth chart. The only two noteworthy additions have been former Jaguars LB Mike Peterson and former Rams C Brett Romberg. Neither makes Falcons fans stand up and cheer.
“2008 Statistics – Games/Starts: 15/10; Tackles: 84; Sacks: 1”
Peterson will be reunited with Falcons head coach Mike Smith, who previously served as defensive coordinator in Jacksonville from 2003 to 2007. Peterson, 32, played the last six seasons with the Jaguars after starting his 10-year NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts.
Peterson looks to be a minor upgrade over the departed town favorite Keith Brooking.
“ Free-agent center Brett Romberg, who started six games for the St. Louis Rams in 2008, has signed with the Atlanta Falcons.
Romberg, 29, played in 33 games, including 18 starts, for the Rams the last three years. He started nine games in 2007.
With the Falcons, Romberg is expected to compete for playing time behind Todd McClure.”
Solid backup caliber player, which for the most part is all Atlanta has done in the off season; shore up their depth chart.
I doubt signing Peterson and Romberg will change the opinion of SportingNews.com – they called the Falcons losers in Free Agency.
“They must replace Boley, Foxworth and Keith Brooking (Cowboys), a fixture at linebacker for more than a decade.”
I would not go so far as to call Falcons losers. Michael Boley (LB), signed with the Giants. For whatever reason, last year he completely fell out of favor with Atlanta’s coaching staff. Keith Brooking (LB) departing to the Cowboys helps the Falcons; they no longer have to contend with a fan favorite that has lost at least three steps.
Loosing Dominique Foxworth (CB; signed with the Ravens) hurts a little because he played very well last year, and the Falcons gave up this year’s 7th round selection to Denver to get Foxworth via trade last year. Maybe the NFL will deem him worthy of a compensatory pick, which would allow Atlanta to continue to build through the draft.
The Falcons have also lost Grady Jackson (DT) to the Lions and Lawyer Milloy (S) remains unsigned, with little chance of returning to Atlanta. Both of these players played key roles with the Falcons last year, but are expendable, past their prime veterans. In other words, the Falcons will get younger, faster, and of course cheaper.
Of all the Free Agency losses, Foxworth is most concerning. Not because he was great, but because I am not all that excited about Chris Houston, Von Hutchins (if he returns from injury), Brent Grimes and Chevis Jackson secondary. Maybe the Falcons are waiting for another trade, June roster cuts, and of course there is the draft.
Falcons 2009 Draft Selections
1st Round (No. 24 overall)
2nd Round (No. 23; No. 55 overall)
3rd Round (No. 26; No. 90 overall)
4th Round (No. 25)
5th Round (No. 7; from Oakland)
5th Round (No. 24)
6th Round (No. 23)
Compensatory draft picks will be awarded in April. They are added at the bottoms of rounds three through seven and affect the overall number of picks.