This offseason has featured a slow-developing market for several positions, and safety has definitely been one. With reports now surfacing that free agent safety Madieu Williams will soon choose between the Falcons and Redskins, fans could actually witness the Falcons made a move that doesn't involve re-signing a current player.
Having just let former backup safety James Sanders sign with the Cardinals and nickelback Kelvin Hayden join up with the Bears, this signing would make complete sense. Considering that Williams left Washington on Friday without a signed deal and then met with Falcons brass on Monday, I think the odds of him picking the Dirty Birds are pretty good too.
But if the Falcons actually do sign Williams, what does that mean about the team's offseason plans as a whole?
This is quite possibly the final spreadsheet update of the offseason. Savor it!
You could look at this as simply a move to acquire depth, which it is. With Schann Schillinger and Suaesi Tuimaunei being the only backups at the position, it would be foolish not to sign someone.
However, Williams could also see some increased playing time in the "Big Nickel" package favored by new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. The alignment features the same personnel as a regular nickel defense, except there are three safeties instead of three cornerbacks, and still only two linebackers.
This package has become a popular counter-measure to the more athletic tight ends that have surfaced in recent years (Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez), and hopefully Nolan will be able to implement effectively in Atlanta. Stay tuned for Williams' decision.