Why would you be stuck? You'd still be able to sign someone at the end of camp. The player you sign today is not going to make significantly more than the player you would sign at the end of August/beginning of September, so the ramifications of cutting that player at the end of camp are relatively nothing.
It's a risk/reward system. You get no reward for sitting on your hands, or at least the odds of a reward are extremely low, because your average undrafted WR has a less than 1% chance of being a productive rookie WR (Doug Baldwins are extremely rare).
However, the odds that a proven veteran player can come in and be productive are immensely higher (let's say 20%), with almost zero risk. If that player "busts" and just winds up getting cut, you're in the same exact position you would have been had you gone with Plan A and stood pat.
fun gus wrote:
Maybe TD has been burnt by the preseason injury bug a couple times and figures it makes more sense to wait to the last minute and see who is healthy and that is a better idea?
Perhaps, but how often in life is procrastination a better strategy? Everything involved in personnel evaluation is essentially gambling because you never truly know if a player is going to develop and produce, and you never know when the injury bug is going to hit.
A smart GM (or gambler) is going to know how to minimize risk and maximize reward. And this is something that TD has routinely NOT DONE in recent off-seasons, and the majority of the time they have blown up in his face, yet he rarely ever gets called upon it.
How the Falcons have handled their nickel cornerback situation is Prime Example #1. Now, he seemingly has solved the problem with the Asante Samuel trade, but it took him basically 3 years before he made the right decision and secured a veteran ahead of time.
The other example is how poorly the Falcons have developed their practice squad talent. Eric Weems and Vance Walker are the only players to begin the year on the team's 8-man p-squad and actually garner significant PT with the team. Of the 32 players that have started the year on the 8-man p-squad over the past 4 years, they have combined to appear in 112 games and 10 starts between them. If you remove Weems and Walker from that equation, it would be 21 games and 2 starts among 30 guys. So for 94% of our practice squad players, they are going to average a grand total of 0.7 games played between them.
It's not to say that Cone, Pearcy, Calvin, etc. might not turn into good players. But given this team's history of developing these young guys, why should we expect more from them than we got out of players like Doug Beaumont, Aaron Kelly, Brandyn Harvey, Tim Buckley, or Andy Strickland?
Again, if you're gambling, explain to me why is that a smarter strategy than signing a veteran, even someone as crappy as Hines Ward, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, or Kassim Osgood?