Among all of the Falcons impending free agents, perhaps the most intriguing one is Jason Snelling. The fourth year running back out of Virginia filled in admirably for an injured Michael Turner during the latter half of the 2009 season, rushing for a career-high 613 yards. He also flashed some great hands last season, ranking third in team receptions with 44.
Snelling has certainly solidified his worth as a quality backup for Turner and a great complementary piece to the offense. But with the arrival of the lightning-quick Jacquizz Rodgers, how exactly could the Falcons get Snelling on the field? Well, the good folks over at Niners Nation pose an interesting situation that would involve releasing incumbent first-stringer Ovie Mughelli and make Snelling a full-time starter.
When you think about it, it's certainly not a crazy idea. Snelling, while not as talented of a run-blocker, does have experience at fullback, and has filled in at the position before. Mughelli, while a great fullback, isn't exactly young at 31 and is due $6M over the next two years. With only 13 catches last season, he certainly isn't the same caliber receiver as Snelling.
Still, with Jacquizz being a more capable receiver than Snelling, that basically replaces his biggest talent. Additionally, while he is a decent fullback, Ovie is a Pro-Bowl FB, and one that I'm sure the Falcons would rather keep around for the next two seasons.
Most of all, however, is the likelihood that Snelling wants a pay raise. If the Falcons cut Ovie, then he certainly would be getting starter-grade money. However, if money is actually his biggest concern, then he likely would garner a much larger contract as a starting RB for another team.
I certainly would like to have him around next season, especially given the way Mike Mularkey has overworked Turner these past few years, but in the end there isn't much incentive for Snelling to stay in Atlanta. When all is said and done, I think J-Snell will likely still take his chances on the open market.
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