Free-agency review: Falcons
March, 18, 2014
By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com
Most significant signings: It's a tossup between nose tackle Paul Soliai and offensive guard Jon Asamoah. With the Falcons moving to a 3-4-based defensive scheme, it's important to have an anchor up front, and the 6-foot-4-inch, 340-pound Soliai is quite an anchor and will open lanes for others to make plays. But the offensive line is the biggest issue that needed to be fixed, and inserting a stout pass protector like Asamoah is one positive step in the process.
Most significant loss: The Falcons didn't necessarily lose any player to another team and had only a handful of free agents to begin with, but Tony Gonzalez is now technically a free agent after being released by the team before a $3 million bonus was due. Gonzalez claims to be retired anyway, but his retirement paperwork hasn't been filed yet. If another team somehow talks him out of retirement, that no doubt wouldn't sit well with the Falcons.
Biggest surprise: Awarding defensive end Tyson Jackson a five-year, $25 million contract was somewhat of a shocker, considering Jackson never really stood out in Kansas City after coming in as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 draft. But if Jackson stuffs the run and provides toughness up front, his past won't matter. His impact won't be based on sacks; he had only nine of them over his first five seasons.
What's next? The Falcons are obviously looking for help in the return game after inquiring about Devin Hester and bringing in Trindon Holliday for a visit, although neither has signed. Safety and tight end are still areas of concern with the market dwindling. As far as tight ends, Jermichael Finley's status is worth monitoring coming off spinal surgery. It will be interesting to see if the Falcons look into any restricted free agents.