The free agency period is certainly less fun when your team doesn’t have the cap room to participate, especially when I’ve heard John Clayton repeatedly say that the cap is so high that no team should be at risk of letting their own guys walk.
You may want to check those Hall of Fame credentials again, Mr. Clayton. By now, you should all know that Josh Brown has left to join arguably our greatest rival since we moved to the NFC West. DJ Hackett is on his way out the door. And even Leonard Weaver is drawing some interest, despite being tendered at the 2nd round level.
Thankfully, we’ve retained Sean Locklear and Marcus Trufant. The Trufant deal has greatly impacted our ability to make the moves needed to be a genuine contender next season. Rumors continue to swirl that Alge Crumpler will make his decision on Monday, but that he was there for the Hawks’ taking if they had any real money to offer. Instead, he’s left for Buffalo in hopes of finding something more to his liking.
The Falcons just signed RB Michael Turner to a big deal, making it even more likely that Warrick Dunn will be released and become a possible target of the Hawks.
I must admit that I am beginning to have reservations about our GM. I’ve detailed his horrible track record on adding offensive players, but I have sensed an arrogance in his dealings that concerns me as well.
The Hutchinson move was the first real sign of this. Coming out and publicly discussing his belief that Tru is the best of second tier of CBs is just dumb. What does he hope to gain out of saying his Franchise Tag’d player is second rate? Furthermore, why is it that every former Bucs and Falcons player that comes available becomes someone of interest to Ruskell? If his formula for success and scouting is so great, why isn’t he finding a Ryan Grant somewhere? To be clear, I’m not expecting him to find Pro Bowlers-to-be sitting on practice squads all the time. I do expect someone who constantly revels in his “against-the-grain” scouting style (e.g., Lofa in the 2nd rd) to more regularly find people that others have missed with their more typical scouting.
This gets even more frustrating when I keep hearing that Ruskell doesn’t want the “big run stuffer” DT, and I see game changers like Marcus Stroud, Shaun Rogers and Kris Jenkins change teams for 3rd and 5th round draft picks. Plug any one of those guys into our line and we might become the best defense in the NFL next season. Instead, we’re stuck with a guy who doesn’t value that type of player on the line, but hasn’t shown a consistent alternative for how to stop the run.
Part of me thinks that we’ll never know how important Holmgren was until he is gone and Ruskell builds a hopelessly unbalanced team.
As it stands, we’re heading into next season with some serious questions at WR, DT, OG, RB and K. Let’s see what happens from here.