The Falcons’ offensive line is in major need of an upgrade following a disappointing 2013 campaign, writes Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. As a team, the Falcons allowed franchise quarterback Matt Ryan be sacked 44 times last season, which tied them for the tenth most in the NFL, according to NFL.com.
While the Falcons moved second year offensive lineman Peter Konz from center to guard due to his struggles, the team would prefer to move him back to his natural position of center. Garrett Reynolds and Harland Gunn also had time at right guard, though neither is set up to be the long term answer at the position.
McClure does provide a few options the Falcons could pursue in free agency that could sure up the unit in 2014:
- Zane Beadles – Beadles will be starting at guard in the Super Bowl tomorrow for the Broncos, but is set to hit free agency this offseason looking for a long term deal. The 27-year-old Pro Bowl talent has played left guard and right tackle in his NFL career, after playing left tackle in college at Utah. His versatility makes him a great fit on an offensive line that is rebuilding. While the Broncos are expected to try and re-sign him, if he hits the market at a reasonable price, McClure thinks the Falcons might make a run at him.
- Jon Asamoah – Asamoah was a big part of the Chiefs’ success this year, paving the way for Jamaal Charles big season. However, the cap-strapped Chiefs will have to make some difficult decisions on which of their free agents to retain. If the 25-year-old Asamoah reaches the market, Falcons’ general manager Scott Pioli (who drafted Asamoah in 2010) could make him a long term solution at guard.
- Willie Colon – While Colon is not necessarily a long term solution, if the Jets draft a guard they may release the 30-year-old lineman. McClure notes that new Falcons’ offensive line coach Mike Tice lobbied hard for Colon to join the Bears last season, before the former Steeler decided to join Rex Ryan and the Jets, but if Tice pushes for his services again it is possible that the Falcons use him as a stopgap on a short term contract.