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Is It Possible The Atlanta Falcons Won't Sign A Defensive End?

Well, that's at least what Jason La Canfora over at NFL.com seems to believe.

In his article, he argues that with the team trading up to get Julio Jones, the move shows that Falcons brass has little faith in this year's free agent class. Rather than bringing in the long-speculated free agent D-end, the Falcons would refrain from signing one, electing to save money and wait from a better free agency crop.

Clearly La Canfora isn't a big believer in either Ray Edwards or Charles Johnson as solutions to the Falcons' DE needs:

There are few proven pass rushers on the market, prices are expected to be quite high, and those available like Ray Edwards and Charles Johnson have some question marks with them as well. There is no definite fix there, and the costs associated with striking out on a high-end free agent are significant.

On one hand, it may be more prudent to hold off on a free-agent DE for a year or two. The Falcons would certainly have a good shot at signing the Texans' Mario Williams, who will be a free agent next offseason. It would also allow give someone like Kroy Biermann the opportunity to break out in 2011.

But, on the other hand, with Johnson only 25 years old and Edwards 27, they both still have room to improve. They may be playing at a higher level at the end of a long term deal than next season. Besides, it's not like the Falcons need a 20.0-sack guy next year (although it would be nice).

Most of all however, if the Julio Jones pick signifies anything, it's that the Falcons are in "win now" mode. They still need a guy who can provide an effective pass-rush opposite of Abraham, or spell him to allow someone like Biermann or Lawrence Sidbury come into the game.

Beyond that, let's face it: John Abraham isn't getting any younger. He may not be the double-digit sack force we saw last year. I still expect a new pass-rusher in Atlanta.

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.