The Atlanta Falcons figure to have busy offseason with 17 players set to become unrestricted free agents in the next few weeks. The good news, however, is that they’re projected to be $28 million under the salary cap.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes a look at some of the key decisions that GM Thomas Dimitroff and company will be faced with regarding their unrestricted free agents.
Here’s a quick look at some of the more notable players.
Ledbetter notes that despite Abraham being the team’s most effective pass-rusher last season, he’ll most likely have to take a pay cut from last year’s $8 million salary to return. He also adds that Abraham may be rushed in a limited basis even if he’s retained.
At 34, Abraham is in a tough position as NFL teams may look to upgrade the defensive ends position with younger talent and this year’s group of draft prospects will only make it harder for veterans to land quality contracts.
Ledbetter suggests that the Falcons decision to give Dunta Robinson a six-year, $57 million contract last year will most likely have an impact on Grimes’ asking price. He also mentions that Atlanta could consider using their franchise tag on him which would guarantee Grimes a contract of $10.2 million for the 2012 season.
Early reports suggested that the Falcons could be willing to allow him to leave during free agency but there’s always the chance that they may change their minds.
The article mentions Jets MLB David Harris’ four-year, $36-million contract could be the deal that Lofton and his representation look to replicate when discussions begin.
Pro Football Focus did rate Lofton as the #15 best inside linebacker and despite concerns that he may not be an every-down linebacker, he’ll likely find plenty of interest on the open market. He’s also led the team in tackles for each of the last three seasons so the Falcons will have to really weigh their options here.
Ledbetter suggests that Snelling will not be retained as they look to feature Jacquizz Rodgers more next season.
Not really a shock but Snelling was a decent third-down running back for them. Still, it makes sense to see what Rodgers can do with more playing time.
We have Abraham (#21), Grimes (#25), and Lofton (#17) all featured in our Top 50 Free Agents list.