Atlanta Falcons Free Agency: Brent Grimes, Kroy Biermann And A New Salary Cap

Normally this time of year is filled with speculation, but more often than not nothing interesting actually happens in these flat days leading up to the opening of free agency. This week is an exception.

Without even considering the fact that the Saints' franchise is sinking right before our very eyes after accusations of Gregg Williams running a bounty program, it's been a busy week for the Falcons as they attempt to re-sign many of the team's 18 free agents before the league year officially opens.

Couple that with the continued failures involving Drew Brees contract talks, and you have a pretty epic week on your hands. Let's take a look at the other, more Atlanta-related highlights while we're at it:

Brent Grimes Will Be Franchise Tagged... Or Not. Actually, Yes He Will.

Yes, after Thomas Dimitroff appeared on 790 The Zone and announced that the Falcons were planning on using the $10.6M franchise tag on the team's top corner, Grimes' agent Ben Dogra fired right back and said the following:

"We have no plans to sign the tag at this time... We hope to be able to continue to discuss [through] all the issues at the appropriate time."

Now that means almost nothing, because Grimes has in fact been tagged. But judging from Dogra's comments, it's pretty obvious that Grimes would still like to work out a long-term deal with the Falcons.

While using the tag is a rather un-Belichick-esque move for Dimitroff, it does make sense for the Falcons. With Grimes locked up for another year, they can focus on trying to re-sign Curtis Lofton, who'll probably ask for something similar to D'Qwell Jackson's five-year, $42M extension with the Browns.

As for Grimes, he's undoubtedly a top-tier cornerback that the Falcons can't afford to let go. With the Saints looking as if they'll take a step back after a rough offseason, the NFC South is ripe for the Falcons to take back. Mike Nolan clearly believes Grimes will still flourish under his system, and with an improved pass rush the defense could be special.

Kroy Biermann And Todd McClure, Two Likely Returners

Based on reports earlier this week, a Biermann contract extension should be officially announced any day now. The deal will fall along the lines of three or four years and $10M-$12M total.

With John Abraham probably leaving the Falcons, it became even more important for Dimitroff to keep Biermann, who also possesses a somewhat versatile skill set (read: coverage) that Mike Nolan thinks he can use well.

In addition, it's looking like the team could be bringing back longtime center Todd McClure as well:

"#Falcons HC Mike Smith spoke highly of free agent C Todd McClure and indicated the organization would like to re-sign him"

While that's not exactly screaming that the Falcons will keep McClure for another year, consider A) that Joe Hawley really struggled at center last season and B) that the Falcons have much more pressing needs at tackle and guard. McClure should prove a great stop-gap solution for the Falcons in 2012.

A New Salary Cap? More Money For The Falcons?

Pro Football Talk is reporting that both the NFL and NFLPA are making a last-minute push to increase the salary cap before the league year officially opens in under a week.

Whether this is a reaction to team's like the Raiders and Steelers being woefully over the salary cap or simply a flaw in the original CBA design, it won't be a surprise if teams will be granted an extra boost in their spending power fairly soon.

For the Falcons, that means that a long-term Lofton deal or perhaps a Robert Mathis free agent signing could become much more feasible. Stay tuned.

For more, check out Falcons blog The Falcoholic or head over to the SB Nation NFL hub page for free agency news.

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