Should we take a chance on Marcus McNeil?
Free agency starts March 13th, so why not go ahead and track and list some potential free agent targets for Atlanta. For the most part I would expect us to go after the trenches and try to sign a man at LT, RG, DE, and DT. There’s also a good chance that we could be in the market for a cornerback after the recent events that transpired with Brent Grimes, and well Dunta Robinson’s just generally being very bad and very overpaid.
To start out let’s take a look at RG Ben Grubbs. Grubbs was a rock along with Marshall Yanda in the middle of the Ravens line last. Grubbs is considered a top 10 G within the leauge. He does a great job in pass protection along with very solid work in the run game, however he’s most likely already reached his cieling, but he would solve the revolving door known as the RG position for Atlanta in the coming year.
The 2nd G to take a look at would be Carl Nicks. Nicks is quite possibly the best Guard in the leauge, and one of the main reasons Drew Brees isn’t lying flat on his back more often then not. Nicks is a bulldozer in the run game and the most technically sound G in pass protection in my opinion. Not only would he fix the RG spot, but this would also be hurting the Saints, which is never a bad thing.
One dark shot candidate to keep in mind would be Jason Jones. Before Tennessee kicked him to DE last year he was one of the best 4-3 DTs in the league, constantly beating Guards off his shear quickness. However Jones did do a somewhat decent job at 4-3 DE too, so he could play 3-4 DE as well as possibly 3-4 OLB bringing a bit of versatility to the table. Having the proven Jones with the upstart Peters could be a formidable DT combo for years to come.
A candidate Atlanta has been linked too is CB Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan would make perfect sense if we were to lose Grimes, he is an established veteran corner that is among the best in the league, along with a very physical play style that fits Nolan’s scheme. He could also bring so much needed attitude into Atlanta’s defense, and for those concerned about potential character issues there are none. Finnegan has been named Titan’s Man of the Year and a team captain for the Titans. Barring the one incident with Andre Johnson, Finnegan has been clean off and on the field.
Another candidate to land in Atlanta could be local product Robert Mathis. Mathis has been part of one of the best pass rushing duos of the last decade. However their are questions if he can produce on his own and he is also older. None the less he’s still a proven pass rusher, and could be a good fit for Atlanta.
The last name on this list is that of Marcus McNeil. By all reports the Chargers are going to cut McNeil and keep Jared Gaither. McNeil is a very good LT when he is healthy, but that is the problem, he’ll have to be cleared by doctors to play next season, however this might be a risk worth taking for Atlanta as back-up LT, Will Svitek performed adequately last year when Sam Baker was benched.
This is a very deep FA class, and Atlanta has a lot of spending money (30.6 Million) so expect more then one big move this offseason I’d look for around 3-4 due to the lack of draft picks. So prepare to see a lot of new faces wearing Atlanta Falcons uniforms next year as we’re not going out of FA without a bang.
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