Best: Signing OLB Brooks Reed
Brooks Reed isn’t a superstar by any means, but he is a solid veteran who is exceptional against the run. During his four-year career with the Texans, Reed compiled 169 tackles. Reed filled one of the big needs at the outside linebacker position. While he is not known for his pass rushing abilities, this was addressed with the signing of Adrian Clayborn and drafting Vic Beasley. Reed and recent acquisition Justin Durant, who played well last season before injuring his bicep, combine to make a nice outside linebacker duo for Dan Quinn to work with. Reed was signed to a 5 year, $22 million contract. While he injured his groin and is expected to miss at least the beginning of OTA’s, his injury is considered minor and the Falcons are not going to take any chances with their biggest investment of the offseason. The Falcons did not make any splashes in free agency, but did manage to bring in solid veterans for defensive mastermind Dan Quinn to utilize for good value.
Worst: Releasing G Justin Blalock
Justin Blalock was released to save around $3.8 million in cap space. As Kyle Shanahan plans to implement a zone blocking scheme to the offensive line, many speculate the team needed a lighter and more athletic option at left guard. However, the team has done little to address the offensive guard position since the release of Blalock. Justin Blalock was one of the best Falcons offensive lineman in the past decade, and performed well last year. He offered at least some stability on a line that was ineffective and marred by injuries. They now rely on Mike Person, who is running with the first team offense, and is yet to start an NFL game. Yikes.