Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Falcons agree to terms with Javier Arenas
By Vaughn McClure
The Atlanta Falcons have added yet another player affiliated with new assistant general manager Scott Pioli.
Javier Arenas, a defensive back/return man who was drafted by Pioli in Kansas City and last played for the Arizona Cardinals, agreed to terms with the Falcons on a one-year contract. Pioli was Kansas City's general manager from 2009-12.
Arenas was a second-round pick in 2010 out of Alabama and was part of the same Chiefs' draft class as newly signed Falcons offensive guard Jon Asamoah. The Falcons also signed their former teammate in Kansas City, defensive end Tyson Jackson.
As for Arenas, he apparently will be asked to contribute on special teams and at nickel back. He doesn't have a return for a touchdown in four previous NFL seasons. Arenas has 179 career returns, with 106 punt returns and 73 kickoff returns. His average is 21.1 yards on kickoffs and 9.8 on punt returns.
The Falcons courted arguably the greatest return man in NFL history when Devin Hester visited on Tuesday. There was no word of Hester signing as of Tuesday evening, but it was still too early to assume Arenas knocked Hester out of the picture.
In terms of playing nickel back, the 5-foot-9, 197-pound Arenas would add depth. Restricted free-agent Robert McClain, who received a one-year tender, likely would be first up in that role once if he re-signs with the Falcons. But McClain might lose his role as a punt returner.