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O-line search could leave Falcons 'Zany'
February, 1, 2014
By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com
The Atlanta Falcons need offensive line help anywhere they can get it, and securing a veteran offensive guard appears to be a priority.
Last year’s struggles at right guard were well documented as both Garrett Reynolds and Peter Konz failed to play up to standard. Konz lost his position at center and got bumped over to guard. He’s been told to get stronger this offseason.
As for Reynolds, he lost his spot twice before being a healthy scratch in the season finale. The Falcons appear destined to part ways with Reynolds, who would count $1,578,750 against the cap next season. Releasing him would provide a cap savings of $1,328,750.
The Falcons also gave Harland Gunn an audition at right guard, but he's not the long-term solution.
So who will the Falcons pursue to insert as a starting guard? It seems only natural for them to look into Jon Asamoah of the Chiefs, considering new assistant general manager Scott Pioli drafted him in Kansas City. New Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice lobbied for Willie Colon to come to Chicago when Tice coached with the Bears and Colon, now with the New York Jets, is set to become a free agent.
As we talked about Friday, there were a handful of names mentioned at the Senior Bowl related to the Falcons in free agency, although those names aren’t necessarily on the team’s wish list. Here is one guy playing in Sunday’s Super Bowl that someone told me might fit nicely in Atlanta:
Zane Beadles, 6-5, 305, OG, Denver Broncos
Draft history: 2nd round of 2010 out of Utah
Career games/starts: 64/62
The word: Beadles was a 2012 Pro Bowl selection after allowing just one sack that season – something unheard of around the Falcons' offensive line these days. Beadles has versatility, having started eight games at left guard and six at right tackle during his rookie season after starting at left tackle in college. Although he has 54 starts at left guard for the Broncos, his ability to move around would make him an ideal candidate at right guard. Not to mention Beadles has been labeled as "fierce"’ on the field, and the Falcons desperately need toughness up front.
Would the Falcons be interested in Beadles? Well, they should exhaust all options when it comes to free agency, but they won’t overspend for a guard. They already have left guard Justin Blalock counting $7.66 million against the cap next season. Mike Klis of the Denver Post said Beadles might be in line for a five-year, $25 million contract if the Broncos opt to keep him. But keep an eye on Beadles during Sunday’s Super Bowl just in case.
Coming Monday: A potential replacement for Tony Gonzalez?