Potential 2013 Atlanta Falcons roster changes
The 2012 season is over for the Atlanta Falcons, and now we look onto the potential 2013 Atlanta Falcons roster changes. The Falcons will potentially have 18 players fly off in 2013. The first man on this list who is definitely not coming back is Tony Gonzalez. He announced his intentions to retire early in the 2012 season, and it has truly been a treat to watch him continue to display his Hall of Fame credentials in a Falcons uniform. Then the tough decision for the Falcons comes with Brent Grimes hitting free agency in 2013. It’s hard to make the decision on Grimes, because he was placed on I.R. early in the 2012 season.
Grimes has shown that he can play the position, and Asante Samuel isn’t going to play forever. That points to the franchise tag being placed on Grimes in the offseason. Grimes even with an injury, uncertainty is still the best candidate for the tag out of the free agents.
Offensive tackle Sam Baker and Will Svitek hit free agency in 2013. This brings up another tough decision for the Falcons. Baker filled in nicely for Svitek who was placed on I.R. before the season, but Svitek was also your starter last season. The Falcons will have to pick one to re-sign this offseason, and with limited draft picks in the next couple of seasons, the Falcons organization can’t afford to make the wrong decision. There’s even more shuffling on the offensive line with Todd McClure hitting free agency in 2013. Peter Konz is a natural fit at center or guard, but who takes his place at guard if he takes McClure’s spot?
These questions on the offensive line have to be addressed. Otherwise, Matt Ryan will have to change his nickname from “Matty Ice” to “Matty Crushed Ice” or even “Matty Slurpee”. On a final note, Mike Peterson’s time on the Falcons will finally be up in 2013. He was able to anchor the outside linebacker position for a couple of seasons before Sean Weatherspoon took over, and that could mean two conclusions from the Falcons front office point of view. The first is that Akeem Dent should start to light it up for the Falcons soon in 2013 at the linebacker position that is the weakest on this team at Middle linebacker, and the second is that the Falcons might look for a middle linebacker in the draft to solidify the group.
I’m not sold on Akeem Dent as a middle linebacker, and only because I’m biased towards middle linebackers being the player who leads the team in tackles. I know that if the Falcons played less nickel, then Dent’s numbers would perk up, but I don’t know if he’s the guy. I just know that the Falcons have sacrificed the rushing defense for passing defense, and there is nothing wrong with that strategy. However Dent doesn’t come off as an essential part of that formula. Bottom-line, the Falcons main priority this offseason is the offensive line. 2013 will be a very different year for the Falcons, with some soul-searching thrown in, but the Falcons should bounce right back.
Mike Peterson covered for the Outside Linebacker positon on the Falcons until the Falcons drafted Sean Weatherspoon, and not the Middle Linebacker position that was covered by Curtis Lofton until 2011.
James Cobern is a Featured Journalist for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com.