Falcons Re-Sign Eric Weems; Davis to Start Season on PUPThe Atlanta Falcons announced today that they had re-signed wide receiver Eric Weems and waived wide receiver Jabin Sambrano. Weems returns to the Falcons after signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Chicago Bears in 2012. Earlier today, Vaughn McClure of ESPN also reported that wide receiver Drew Davis would begin the regular season on the team’s reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list. Davis was placed on the active/PUP list before the start of training camp and was supposed to mix six weeks due to foot surgery, but his recovery has been delayed. Davis will subsequently miss the first six weeks of the regular season.
Weems spent five seasons with the Falcons after joining the team as an undrafted free agent out of Bethune-Cookman in 2007. He played primarily on special teams where he returned both kickoffs and punts from 2009-11. He also shined on coverage teams, earning a bid to the Pro Bowl with 16 tackles along with a touchdown each as a punt and kickoff returner.
The Bears signed Weems to return kicks and allow Devin Hester to concentrate on offense in 2012. But that decision did not work out, and Hester played exclusively as a return specialist in 2013 before signing with the Falcons this past offseason. Instead, Weems’ primary value with the Bears was his ability to cover kicks.
During his Falcon career, Weems also received some reps on offense, catching a total 24 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushing for 53 yards on eight attempts. McClure reported that Weems was set to sign with the Tennessee Titans earlier this week, a team the Falcons play on Saturday in their third preseason action of the summer. But McClure indicated this afternoon that the Falcons swooped in last night to sign Weems to a one-year deal after his Titans deal hit a snag.
Sambrano was added the Falcons roster at the end of July following the departure of Darius Johnson. He saw limited action in the Falcons two preseason contests, not catching a pass despite being thrown the ball three times. He was listed among the most vulnerable Falcon players headed into this weekend’s game against the Titans.
As explained when Davis first went on the active/PUP in July, there is a distinction between that and the reserve/PUP used for the regular season. Davis will miss at least the first six weeks of the season as he will be unable to practice. Starting Week 7, there will be a five-week window in which Davis can return to practice. If/when he does, there will begin a three-week period in which Davis can return to the active roster. If Davis does not activated to the 53-man roster, he will revert to the injured reserve and miss the rest of the 2014 season. The Falcons could also opt to release him with an injury settlement then if they’ve found better potential options in the meantime.
Davis has primarily filled the void left by Weems the past two seasons, working on special teams coverage units. In the past two seasons, Davis has collected 12 special teams tackles in comparison to the 28 that Weems had in his final two seasons in Atlanta. Davis has caught 16 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns over the past two years.
Weems will be competing primarily against the likes of Courtney Roby, Bernard Reedy, Geraldo Boldewijn and Jeremy Ebert for potentially one or two final roster spots among the Falcons wide receiver group.