After releasing veteran return man Devin Hester on Tuesday morning, the Falcons find themselves with three open spots on their 90-man roster. It’s possible that one or two of those spots could be filled with veteran defenders. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff says the team is still looking at Dwight Freeney, per Andrew Hirsh of AtlantaFalcons.com (Twitter link). Meanwhile, coach Dan Quinn says the club is keeping tabs on old friend O’Brien Schofield (Twitter link).
Freeney, 36, worked out for the Falcons earlier this summer but the team decided to put him on the back burner as they evaluated other players already in-house. After tallying eight sacks in an abbreviated 2015 season, Freeney could make a lot of sense for Quinn & Co. The Falcons are currently slated to start Vic Beasley and Derrick Shelby at defensive end with support from Adrian Clayborn and Tyson Jackson. Recently, former NFL head coach and current analyst Mike Nolan opined that the Falcons should sign Freeney to improve their quarterback pressure. Last season, the Falcons finished with a league-worst 19 sacks.
Schofield, meanwhile, has been lobbying hard for a Falcons return. Until today, however, we haven’t heard much reciprocation from Atlanta.
“You know I’ll bring 100 percent to that locker room and to the field,” said Schofield in May. “And you know, without a shadow of a doubt, I would help that ballclub. I’m looking for a more dominant role as a nickel pass-rusher. I would have to be able to compete as the nickel rusher.”
The veteran, who signed a one-year, $1.7MM deal with Atlanta last year, finished out the year with 28 tackles, four tackles for losses, two sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and one forced fumble. The Falcons did make Schofield early on in the offseason, but it was not to the veteran’s liking. If Schofield were to sign with the Falcons now, it could be for the same sum he rejected a few months ago.
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