Michael Lombardi of the National Football Post reports that the Falcons are considering the acquisition of tight end Tony Gonzalez via trade from the Kansas City Chiefs. Lombardi says that the Falcons might even consider sending their second round pick to Kansas City for the perennial Pro Bowl tight end.
The Falcons attempted to acquire Gonzalez last October before the league’s trading deadline, but Gonzalez himself nixed that because of reluctance to rejoin a “rebuilding” Falcons franchise according to the Wisconsin State Journal. It remains to be seen if Gonzalez is any more open to playing for the Falcons that finished last year 11-5.
Although the Kansas City Star reported last month that the Chiefs have not received or tried to garner interest for Gonzalez on the trade market. Per the Star’s report, Chiefs GM Scott Pioli indicated that Gonzalez had yet to approach the team to indicate he wants to be traded.
According to an entry on his blog, former Jacksonville Jaguar tight end George Wrighster has indicated that he has some interest in the Falcons. The Falcons are one of eight teams that appear on a poll, asking his blog readers which team he should play for next. In that same entry, Wrighster indicates that there have been interest from some teams over the weekend in his services, although he does not specifically name the Falcons as one of them.
The Falcons have shown interest in upgrading the tight end position this off-season, by visiting with some prominent draft prospects as well as showing interest in free agent L.J. Smith. Wrighster was limited to only 5 games last season due to injuries, catching 2 passes for 35 yards. His best season came in 2006 where he caught 39 passes for 353 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Falcons may have interest in free agent safety Darren Sharper. McClure cites unknown sources which indicate that the Falcons and New Orleans Saints are the likely destinations for Sharper to wind up. Jeff Duncan of the Times Picayune also indicates that the Saints and Falcons are the most likely destinations for Sharper.
Sharper, 33, is a 12-year veteran who has spent the past four years with the Minnesota Vikings after starting his career with the Green Bay Packers in 1997. This past year, Sharper had 69 tackles and 1 interception. The lone interception was his lowest total since 1998. Sharper has 54 career interceptions, 8 of which he returned for touchdowns. He is the current active leader in the league in interceptions, and ranks 18th all-time in league history. Sharper, a four-time Pro Bowler, most recently earning a trip in 2007.
The Falcons are in the market for an addition at safety, having decided to let go of free agent Lawyer Milloy.
In a report by David Elfin of the Washington Times about the Washington Redskins’ chances of acquiring disgruntled quarterback Brett Favre from the Green Bay Packers, Elfin cites a league observer indicating that the Packers would like to see a bidding war commence between Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and Falcons owner Arthur Blank over the rights to Favre.
Favre, 39, began his career in Atlanta in 1991, as a second round pick. But was traded after the season to the Packers, where he played the next sixteen seasons, setting numerous passing records and going to nine Pro Bowls in that span. Favre is the all-time leader in passing attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns, and interceptions.
There has been no indication that the Falcons are actually interested in Favre. Nor have the Packers officially indicated that they are going to or willing to trade Favre. Favre has a salary of $12 million this season, which any team acquiring him will have to absorb to their 2008 salary cap barring him restructuring his contract.
NFL.com’s Adam Schefter reports that the Dallas Cowboys perhaps will have interest in acquiring Falcons wide receiver Joe Horn to shore up their wide receiver depth. The Cowboys are currently embroiled in a dispute with disgruntled reserve receiver Terry Glenn over an injury waiver. Horn has been linked to possibly being a candidate to be released by the Falcons since the spring, and even reportedly requested a trade from the team in May.
Horn’s value to the Falcons was lessened when the team drafted Louisville receiver Harry Douglas in the third round this past April. Horn is not expected to start this season, losing his job to second-year player Laurent Robinson. Horn caught 27 passes in 12 games last season for the Falcons, but only averaged 9 yards per catch and scored 1 touchdown, less production than expected when the team signed him to a four-year $19 million contract in March 2007. As part of that deal, Horn’s 2008 base salary of $2.5 million is fully guaranteed.
So far, the Falcons have indicated that they have no plans on parting ways with Horn. It remains to be seen if that will be the case as the summer progresses.
UPDATE: ESPN’s Ed Werder cites a team source that confirms Schefter’s report that the Cowboys have initiated internal discussion about acquiring Horn. However, Dallas Morning News columnist Brian Davis reports that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones denied interest in Horn to ESPN during an Arena Football game on Friday night.
Carlos “Big C” Holmes of the Dayton Daily News writes that a reliable source within the Falcons organization indicates that Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm is the highest-rated passer on the team’s draft board. Holmes reports that owner Arthur Blank has been “sold” on Brohm for some time and will be able to improve the team’s questionable receiving corps.
Holmes indicates that Brohm is much more highly thought of by several NFL teams such as the Falcons than much of the media would lead you to believe based on various reports on a multitude of internet draft sites. Holmes also reports that Brohm met with the Falcons during the Combine.
This past season, Brohm finished sixth in FBS rankings with 4,024 passing yards. He also completed 65% of his passes and threw 30 touchdowns. For his career at Louisville, Brohm passed for 10,775 yards, 71 touchdowns, and completed 65.8% of his of 1,185 attempts, while throwing only 24 interceptions. Brohm played under former Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino for three years at Louisville. He entered this past season as the No. 1 quarterback prospect according to a number of draft sources, but his stock dipped somewhat due to the Cardinals struggling to a 6-6 record.
Brohm is scheduled to work out at Louisville’s pro day on March 24.
Bill Williamson of the Denver Post writes that the Falcons could show interest in Jason Elam if or when he becomes available for free agency next week. Williamson also reports on rumors that the Falcons could be curious about a potential late round swap for current Broncos backup running back Mike Bell.
Williamson cites that Elam has familial ties to the state of Georgia as potential reasons why joining the Falcons could interest him. He will turn 38 in March, and has played the last 15 years with the Broncos. He tied the league record for longest field goal of 63 yards in 1998 and currently ranks 6th all-time on the all-time scoring list with 1,786 points. The Falcons are potentially interested in replacing 47-year old Morten Andersen, who is the current all-time leading scorer in NFL history with 2,544 points.
Bell fell on the depth chart this past year after a fairly strong showing as a rookie in 2006. That year he had 157 carries for 677 yards (4.3 avg) and 8 touchdowns along with 20 receptions. This past year, he appeared in only 5 games, rushing for 3 yards on 6 carries with 1 catch. He’ll turn 25 in April, and was an undrafted free agent in 2006 out of Arizona.
As part of their Combine blog, Draft Daddy.com is reporting that the Falcons are one of several teams interested in acquiring Detroit Lions defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. Rogers is currently being shopped by the Lions. DraftDaddy even mentions that there’s a possibility of the Falcons swapping disgruntled cornerback DeAngelo Hall for Rogers. According to the Detroit Free Press, cornerback is a position that the Lions are expected to upgrade this off-season. ESPN reports that at least five or six teams are interested in Rogers. MLive.com reports that the Lions would prefer to deal Rogers to an AFC team.
Rogers will turn 29 in March, and is coming off a season in which he recorded 39 tackles, 7 sacks, and an interception. Standing 6’4″ 340 pounds, he’s known both for his abilities as a pass rusher and run stopper. Rogers is slated to have a base salary of $4.25 million in 2008.
No trades can occur until February 29, the same day that free agency opens.
Draft Daddy.com reports that the Falcons could be pursuing free agents such as quarterback Billy Volek and offensive tackle Flozell Adams. They also have reported that six additonal teams are reportedly interested in cornerback DeAngelo Hall, not just the New York Giants, as reported beforehand. According to their source, the Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, New Orleans Saints, and Kansas City Chiefs are interested in Hall.
Volek is a free agent for the San Diego Chargers. The Falcons attempted to sign Volek back in 2004, but he opted to return to the Tennessee Titans. In 2006, he was traded to the San Diego Chargers. This past season, he only appeared in 5 regular season games, completing 3 of 10 passes for only 6 yards and an interception. But had a notable performance during the playoffs when he came in against the Indianapolis Colts, and completed 3 of 4 passes for 48 yards, as he helped the Chargers secure that victory.
Adams was voted to the Pro Bowl this past season, marking the fourth time in the past five years he has achieved that. He was originally a 2nd round draft pick with the Dallas Cowboys in 1998, and has started 146 games for the Cowboys, most of which came at left tackle.
Mike Garafolo of the Star-Ledger reports that the New York Giants are showing interest in possibly trading for Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Garofalo cites two sources with knowledge of preliminary discussions between the two teams, and indicates that the Giants are willing to part ways with their first round draft pick, the 31st pick overall, in exchange for Hall. Previous reports indicate the Falcons are actively exploring trade options with Hall.