After a month of almost no rumors or hints at any more major moves this offseason, we've gotten a flurry of activity out of Falcons camp. With the draft only two days away now, any move the team makes will have an immediate effect and their drafting strategy as well.
Whatever the reason for this recent bout of interest the Falcons have shown- be it a sudden realization of a need, or more likely trying to convince a certain player to sign his franchise tender- Atlanta is busy once again.
The big news, of which I'm sure most are now well aware, is that Brent Grimes has finally signed his franchise tender.
CB Brent Grimes has signed his franchise tender. More coming. #RiseUp— Atlanta_Falcons (@Atlanta_Falcons) April 24, 2012
He's now reporting to camp after missing a day or two of voluntary workouts and meetings, and he returns to Flowery Branch with a guaranteed $10.6M under his belt as well. While I never expected Grimes to hold out long, it's nevertheless nice to see him get that taken care of and stay a Falcons for at least one more year.
But why the sudden willingness to sign the tag when it was painfully obvious that Camp Grimes wanted a long-term deal worked out? That would be the recent trade rumors regarding Eagles CB Asante Samuel:
The Falcons now are involved in discussions to trade for Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel, according to sources in Atlanta.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 24, 2012
The Eagles are apparently shopping Samuel and seeking a mid-round draft pick, but the market has been (unsurprisingly) quiet. After all, Samuel's decline in tackling ability, age, and $9.5M salary have made quite expendable to a team that already has Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie.
But my gut tells me the Falcons were never really serious about Samuel, and likely made the interest public in order to persuade Grimes to sign the tag. Had he continued to hold out, the Falcons would've acquired Samuel and Grimey would've spent 2012 on the sideline. Not what you want in a contract year.
One other interesting bit of information we've gotten this week is a report involving Aubrayo Franklin:
Free-agent DT Aubrayo Franklin visited today with the Atlanta Falcons, where he would be reuninted with DC Mike Nolan.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 23, 2012
That's right, the run-stuffing lineman and former Saint is being pursued by Atlanta. While he wouldn't be anything more than a quality reserve, the fact that the Falcons are looking at another free agent D-lineman (they pursued Kendall Langford back in March) is interesting.
They've also been working out draft prospects like Brandon Thompson and Josh Chapman, both interior lineman. Either the team's looking for a quality backup should Babineaux not hold up for an entire season, or the Falcons defense will look a lot more like a 3-4 system than the team has let on.
In any case, we'll have a much better sense of where this team's at in a couple of days. So close!