D. Orlando Ledbetter
ANALYSIS OF THE FALCONS' FREE AGENCY PLAN
FLOWERY BRANCH -- From the outset of free agency, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff made it clear that the team cleared salary cap space in order to keep some of their own free agents.
The Falcons spent $91.08 million in retaining safety William Moore, tight end Tony Gonzalez, tackle Sam Baker, running back Antone Smith and right guard Garrett Reynolds.
The Falcons aslo spent $12 million on running back Steven Jackson to push their total to $103.08 million.
Cornerback Dunta Robinson was snapped up by the Kansas City Chiefs and some of their reserves have moved on, including defensive end Lawrence Sidbury (Indianapolis), defensive tackle Vance Walker (Oakland) and tackle Will Svitek (New England).
Running back Michael Turner, cornerback Brent Grimes, defensive end John Abraham are in the group of former Falcons who are still available.
Here’s our Falcons free agent tracker:
WILLIAM MOORE, SS: Moore received a five-year contract worth $29.512 with escalators that could take it up to $32 million. Moore received a signing bonus of $8.25 million and his cap number for 2012 is $3.9 million. He is set to receive base salaries of $2.25 million (2013), $3.5 million (2014), $3.5 million (2015), $4.5 million (2016) and $6.25 million (2017).
ANTONE SMITH, RB: He signed a two-year, $1.425 million deal.
GARRETT REYNOLDS, OG: Reynolds two-year deal was worth $2.58 million. He received a $500,000 signing bonus, with $700,000 of the deal guaranteed. His cap number for 2013 is $1 million. He set to receive base salaries of $715,000 (2013) and $1.285 million (2014).
SAM BAKER, OT: He signed a six-year, $41.1 million deal with $18.25 million guaranteed. Baker also received a $10 million signing bonus. Baker’s base salaries are $1 million (2013), $3.25 million (2014), $4.5 million (2015), $5.25 million (2016), $6.5 million (2017) and $6.6 million (2018). Baker’s cap number is $3 million for 2013.
TONY GONZALEZ, TE: He signed a two-year, $14 million contract and will count for $5.25 million on the 2013 salary cap. He’s set to receive a base salary of $3.5 million and he has a bonus of $3.5 million. In 2014, his base salary is $4.0 million with a roster bonus of $3 million if he plans to continue playing. A two-year deal was done in order to spread his bonus money out over two years.
FREE AGENT PICKUP
STEVEN JACKSON, RB: He signed a three-year, $12 million deal. Jackson’s deal, of which $4 million was guaranteed, has a cap number of $2.916 for 2013. He received a $3.5 million signing bonus and has base salaries are $1.75 million ($500,000 guaranteed in 2013), $3 million (2014) and $3.75 million (2015).
LAWRENCE SIDBURY, DE, INDIANAPOLIS: He signed a one-year, $780,000 contract with $65,000 signing bonus.
Will SVITEK, OT, NEW ENGLAND: He signed a one-year, $1 million deal with $500,000 guaranteed.
VANCE WALKER, DT, OAKLAND: He signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Raiders. He has a $1.3 million base salary with a $500,000 signing bonus and $200,000 workout bonus.
RE-SIGNED WITH ANOTHER TEAM
DUNTA ROBINSON, CB: He signed a three-year deal worth $13.8 million. He received a $3 million signing bonus.
JOHN ABRAHAM, DE: He has visited Seattle, San Francisco and New England.
CHRISTOPHER OWENS, CB: Finished his rookie season as a starter at left cornerback and has played extensively at nickel back. He played in 59 games and made 11 starts. He was a key contributor on special teams. He has 105 tackles and three interceptions over his career.
BRENT GRIMES, CB: He has visited the Dolphins and the Browns, who also have Owen's on their radar, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The Browns liked free agent cornerback Brent Grimes so much that they sent a private jet to pick him up for his visit to Berea on Saturday. They also invited his wife and son to town. Now Grimes, 29, must decide among Cleveland, Atlanta and at least one other team.
"The visit went very well," said Banner. "We enjoyed meeting him. He obviously has other teams interested in him and a place he's played a long time. We'll see how it goes."
Grimes is coming off a torn Achilles injury in the 2012 opener, but the Browns are confident he'll be ready for the season. "He's not 100 percent but we felt good about the time we spent and the physical evaluation as well," said Banner.
If Grimes goes elsewhere, the Browns might turn to his teammate, cornerback Chris Owens, 26, a source said Monday.
MICHAEL PALMER, TE: He played in 44 games and made four starts over three seasons. He caught 21 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns.
MIKE COX, FB: The former Georgia Tech standout started 11 games for the Falcons over the past two seasons and played in 16 games overall. He also played three seasons with the Chiefs.
CHRIS HOPE, FS/SS: Former Pro Bowler played well on special teams last season and saw some action in the dime defense in the playoffs.
LUKE McCOWN, QB: He served as Matt Ryan’s backup last season. Team appears set to elevate Dominique Davis to the No. 2 spot.
MIKE PETERSON, LB: Provided veteran leadership and insurance last season. Made a key stop against Tampa Bay.
MICHAEL TURNER, RB: He was officially released because of a failed physical, which was listed in the league transactions. Turner aggravated an ankle injury in the NFC championship game. He limped off the field in the third quarter and did not return. The team did not announce any additional information about the injury or if he required offseason surgery. Turner played in all 18 games last season and rushed for 800 yards on 222 carries during the regular season. He had a groin surgery after the 2011 season. Turner plans to keep playing in the NFL.
TODD McCLURE, C: He announced that he will retire after 14 years in the NFL trenches.
How have the Falcons done so far?
"what if there were no hypothetical situations?"