ESPN’s Bill Polian, the former general manager and architect of Super Bowl teams in Buffalo and Indianapolis, has devised a three-tier rating system to help us navigate through the 2013 free agency season, which starts March 12.http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/ ... gents-tier
Under his system:
Tier A players are the potential starters, who may be worth a big contract.
Tier B players are talents worth signing if the value makes sense.
Tier C players are the roster filler guys who may contribute, but don’t warrant a long-term or hefty financial commitment.
The Falcons have two “Tier A” players in cornerback Brent Grimes and safety William Moore.
Here’s what Polian wrote on Grimes:
“Solid young player, but injury concern (Achilles) might reduce his value. He's a starting-caliber corner if he answers his health question.”
In addition to coming back from injury, Grimes turns 30 in July.
“Moore is not a spectacular player, but he could start for most teams in the league. He's a good all-around type, solid in all phases of the game.”
Moore went to the Pro Bowl this season as a first alternate when San Francisco and Pro Bowl safeties Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson advanced to Super Bowl XLVII.
Under Polian’s system, the Falcons have two “Tier B” players in left tackle Sam Baker and defensive end Lawrence Sidbury, who has been used sparingly.
Baker, who had a strong 2012 season, is in a tough negotiating spot if Polian’s tiers hold up. There are six “Tier A” tackles on his list: Miami’s Jake Long, New Orleans’ Jermon Bushrod, Detroit’s Gosder Cherilus, Kansas City’s Branden Albert, Denver’s Ryan Clady and New England’s Sebastian Vollmer.
He doesn’t list any Falcons as Tier C players.
Most of you all think the Falcons need help at running back, tight end and linebacker.
Polian has St. Louis running back Steven Jackson, New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett, Tennessee tight end Jared Cook (North Gwinnett High) rated as Tier A offensive players.
His A-list of defensive ends includes Detroit’s Cliff Avril, Dallas’ Anthony Spencer, Indianapolis’ Dwight Freeney and Cincinnati’s Michael Johnson (Georgia Tech).
Here’s the Falcons’ free agent list with Polian’s ranking:
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
TIER A -- Cornerback Brent Grimes and safety William Moore.
TIER B -- Tackle Sam Baker and defensive end Lawrence Sidbury.
Tier C -- None
OTHERS UFAs – Tight end Tony Gonzalez (He has to be assuming Gonzalez will retire or re-sign), fullback Mike Cox, cornerback Chris Hope, center Todd McClure, quarterback Luke McCown, cornerback Christopher Owens, linebacker Mike Peterson, right guard Garrett Reynolds, offensive tackle Will Svitek and defensive tackle Vance Walker.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS – Tight end Michael Palmer and running back Antone Smith.