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FALCONS HAVE SEVERAL PLAYERS IN FREE AGENT LIST
Wed, 11 Jan 2012 08:32 PM EST

The Falcons are susceptible to losing many of their superior defensive players as free agents.

Atlanta’s defensive statistics aces who may be independent agents are linebacker Curtis Lofton (tackles), defensive end John Abraham (sacks), safety Thomas DeCoud (interceptions) and cornerback Brent Grimes (passes defended).

The Falcons have 20 players who can become free agents on March thirteen, including 17 who would be unrestricted independent agents. The strangely extensive list includes longtime starting center Todd McClure, backup quarterback Chris Redman, No. 3 receiver Harry Douglas, backup running back Jason Snelling and return consultant Eric Weems. Basketball scores

Atlanta’s defense previously lost coordinator Brian VanGorder, who left to take a corresponding job with Auburn University on Monday, one day after the Falcons’ 24-2 defeat to the New York Giants in the playoffs. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey left Tues. night to become Jacksonville’s new chief coach. Betting lines

It is to be a busy offseason for GM Thomas Dimitroff and Coach Mike Smith.

Smith said his staff’s first precedence is generating analyses on each player.

“The first matter we have to do is we have to assess our check-list from top to bottom and have meetings in terms of the reviews of our players from this season,” Smith declared Monday. “We possess a lot of decisions to produce with reference to players that are achieving free agency.”

Other notable names on the directory are linebacker Mike Peterson, defensive backs Kelvin Hayden and James Sanders and defensive end Kroy Biermann. Defensive tackle Vance Walker may be a limited free agent.

Lofton, the fourth-year middle linebacker, and Grimes, who has emerged as a top cover cornerback, are especially important players for the Falcons’ long-term future. Abraham assured with his team-leading 9.5 sacks that he’s still a good pass-rusher, but at 33 he is nearing the end of his career.

McClure, 34, has been with Atlanta for each of his 13 seasons.

“He indubitably wants to play,” McClure’s agent, Rick Smith, expounded Tuesday.

The Falcons assembled their first personnel progress on Jan. 1 by re-signing tight end Tony Gonzalez to a one year expansion contract.

Dimitroff said culminating the contract with Gonzalez “makes things much simpler to see where we’re going moving ahead, trying to get the rest of our deals done.”

Atlanta went 10-6 during the regular season, which Smith acknowledged was a discontentment following a 13-3 finish in 2010.

“Every offseason is distinct,” Smith recounted. “This one has its single set of conditions you’ve got to work thru. That is the great issue of being a coach and being a part of the organization in terms of being the co-team builder with Thomas Dimitroff. We have a unique situation each year.”


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