With an eye on returning to playoff contention, the Atlanta Falcons continue to evaluate different ways to upgrade the roster in preparation for the 2014 season.
Of course, the loss of starting linebacker Sean Weatherspoon to a season-ending Achilles tear left the team void of experience at the position. To compensate, the Falcons have looked into players such as Tim Dobbins and Jonathan Vilma as possible replacements.
There was another veteran linebacker the Falcons took a close look at recently. They brought in Nick Barnett for a workout this week, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Barnett, 33, played 14 games with the Washington Redskins last season. He started his career with the Green Bay Packers and also spent time with the Buffalo Bills in his 11 NFL seasons.
Obviously, neither Barnett nor Dobbins signed after his workout.
As for Vilma, it's almost too hard to fathom him lining up for the Falcons in the season opener against his former team, the New Orleans Saints. As of Friday, there was no word of Vilma lining up a visit to Atlanta.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff spoke in general terms Friday about the linebacker situation.
"We are continuing to research all possibilities at the linebacker position to make sure that we continue to fortify our linebacker group," Dimitroff said.
Also, a source confirmed the Falcons' interest in released Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers. The team entered this offseason with the mindset of upgrading the nickelback position. Robert McClain held that role last season, but the Falcons brought in veteran Josh Wilson and Javier Arenas as competitors.
Flowers, 28, made the Pro Bowl last year and was a regular starter the past six seasons in Kansas City. It would be a luxury to have 5-foot-9, 187-pound Flowers covering in the slot with Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford manning the outside.
Whether the Falcons land Flowers is sure to come down to money. He averaged almost $10 million per season with the Chiefs.
As of right now, the Falcons have $9,167,571 in cap space, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Flowers' cap number with the Chiefs would have been $10.5 million this season.