Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reports that the Falcons have informed two impending free agents wide receiver Brian Finneran and cornerback Brian Williams that they will not be re-signed.
Both players had their contracts expire at the end of the season. Free agency is supposed to begin on Friday on March 4, but will be delayed, if not outright cancelled if the league and the players union cannot come to a new agreement in regards to the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Finneran, is behind current center Todd McClure in terms of currently longest tenured Falcon. He first joined the Falcons in December 1999, when he was signed to their practice squad, after appearing in 3 games earlier that season with the Philadelphia Eagles. By the 2002 season, he had ascended to being a starter on the team and their leading receiver. Knee injuries cost him both the 2006 and 2007 seasons, but when Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff took over in 2008, they brought him back. This past year, Finneran caught 19 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns. All in all, Finneran played 9 seasons with the Falcons, starting 38 of 126 appearances with 236 catches for 3072 yards and 19 touchdowns in that span.
Williams first joined the team just before the start of the 2009 season, as the Falcons sought to shore up their weak cornerback position. Williams managed to start the first five games before an ACL tear cost him the rest of the season. He came back this past year, and managed to shore up the nickel cornerback position after early struggles from Chris Owens in that role. In two seasons combined with the Falcons, Williams managed to start 6 of 21 games, recording 49 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, and recovering two fumbles. Williams originally entered the league as a fourth round pick in 2002 by the Minnesota Vikings, before joining the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2006, where he first played under coach Smith.
The combined loss of these two veterans likely leads the Falcons to try and address their depth at both positions in April’s draft, if not sooner if a CBA can be worked out.