Up until 4:00 PM Tuesday, the Falcons headquarters remained pretty quiet. There were a few lingering rumors, but there was definitely no sure things. That all changed once the free agency period officially began. At about 4:01 PM there were reports that both Brooks Reed and Justin Durant would be signing with Atlanta. Shortly after, those reports became official and they became the newest members of the Atlanta Falcons. Later in the day the Falcons made a couple of minor moves. They resigned running back Antone Smith and also signed guard Mike Person from the St. Louis Rams.
Brooks Reed signed a deal that is reportedly worth 22 million over 5 years. Reed is a big 255 pound linebacker that is great against the run. In 2011, Reed’s rookie season, he recorded 6 sacks showing the ability to also get after the passer. However, since then Reed has not recorded more than 3 sacks in a season, but he has still occasionally shown the ability to sack the quarterback. In Reed, the Falcons got a very solid run-stopper that has shown to be very durable over his career. He has only missed 4 games in his career and is a very consistent presence on the field. I think for the money, Reed is a great addition to a position the Falcons had a desperate need at.
The terms of Justin Durant’s contract have not been reported, but it has been confirmed that he is joining the Atlanta Falcons. Durant is a 9-year veteran linebacker. He provides solid run defense along with the ability to defend the pass. He will replace the hole that was left by Sean Weatherspoon when he signed with the Cardinals. Durant’s name was not brought up a lot before he was reported to be heading to Atlanta, but I love the signing. He adds very quality depth and leadership to the linebacker position for a relatively small price tag.
The other two moves the Falcons made were small, but necessary. The Falcons cannot have Devonte Freeman as their lone running back heading into the season. Antone Smith showed explosiveness last season with numerous huge plays before getting injured and missing the rest of the season. Smith adds competition in the backfield and could possibly end up even starting for the Falcons at some point next season. In Mike Person, the Falcons add much needed depth to the guard position. Person played in all 16 games for the Rams last season and will be a good addition to the offensive line rotation.
With the first day of free agency done with, the Falcons still have plenty moves left to make. They are currently rumored to be meeting with DE Derrick Morgan and WR Leonard Hankerson. It looks like the addition of these two players is quite possible. Morgan would be a huge upgrade at defensive end and would be a great signing for the Falcons. Hankerson would take Harry Douglas’ role as the third wide receiver. Past that, I still think the Falcons make a move for either an additional running back or a tight end. Jordan Cameron still could be in the mix. With the Ravens moving Ngata, it seems that signing Forsett is now highly unlikely. I guess only time can tell what Quinn and Co. are going to do.