The Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms with free agent offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus, according to his own twitter account. The move was confirmed by ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, who also reports that the team may not be done addressing their offensive line in free agency. Per McClure, the Falcons remain in talks with fellow free-agent blocker Joe Barksdale, who worked out for the team on May 4.
McClure cites Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who indicates that Polumbus might be destined for a reserve swing tackle role. Polumbus, 30, has started 42 games over the past four seasons as a right tackle with the Washington Redskins, including several years under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan there. Polumbus joined the Redskins midway through the 2011 season after being cut by the Seattle Seahawks. Polumbus first joined the Seahawks in 2010, when he was traded from the Detroit Lions. Of course, Quinn was the assistant defensive line coach of the Seahawks in 2010 during Polumbus’ initial stint there. Polumbus started seven regular-season games and a pair of games in the postseason with the Seahawks in 2010. In total, he logged five starts at left tackle, one at right tackle and three at left guard. Polumbus’ biggest claim to fame may be his role in the famous “Beast Mode” run by Marshawn Lynch, hitting the final block that helped Lynch score on 67-yard run against the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs in 2010.
Polumbus began his career as an undrafted free agent out of Colorado with his hometown team of the Denver Broncos in 2008. He was cut by the Broncos at the end of training camp in 2010, and spent a week with the Lions before he was traded.
Barksdale, 26, has spent the past two years as the starting right tackle of the St. Louis Rams, logging 29 starts in that span. He was originally drafted in the third round of the 2011 draft by the Oakland Raiders. He played mostly right tackle with the Raiders, but did see brief action at left guard in a Week Nine game in 2011 thanks to injuries forcing the Raiders to shuffle around their offensive line. He was cut a few weeks into the 2012 season, and claimed by the Rams shortly thereafter. He logged two starts at left tackle in six total appearances with the Rams that year before replacing an injured Rodger Saffold the following summer at right tackle.
Barksdale has been on the Rams’ radar throughout the offseason, and Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has been vocal multiple times throughout the offseason about the team’s willingness to bring him back. That may have taken a hit in recent weeks when the Rams used four draft picks on offensive linemen, including a second-round pick on right tackle Rob Havenstein. However, reports indicate that the Rams still expressed their interest this past week about wanting to retain Barksdale.
Barksdale’s addition by the Falcons could mean that the team will try to deploy him as the Raiders once did, as a starting left guard, or potentially as a challenger for incumbent Ryan Schraeder at right tackle. Schraeder is coming off a promising 2014 season, starting the final 10 games for the Falcons but the new coaching staff may not be completely sold on him. However, the biggest question mark among the Falcons’ starting five up front is left guard, where Mike Person is currently atop the depth chart. Person signed with the team in March after spending two years as a teammate of Barksdale and a reserve at left guard.
To create room for Polumbus on the roster, the Falcons cut undrafted tackle Cody Clay yesterday. Clay was one fo the team’s 19 original undrafted free agent signings out of Azusa Pacific. Clay is the fourth of the team’s 19 initial undrafted free agents that were released within a week of joining the team.