Weatherspoon may leave for Arizona

Could a veteran defensive player be leaving Atlanta?

The rumors are starting in full force. With now less than three days away until the start of free agency, we are going to start hearing a number of rumors about the players that might leave and join the Atlanta Falcons.

Saturday’s big talk revolved around linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who was expected to be a top priority for the Falcons to retain him as a linebacker. Reports have Weatherspoon leaning toward signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier Saturday that Weatherspoon was unlikely to return to the Falcons. Then later in the afternoon the reports that linked Weatherspoon with the Cardinals surfaced.

Weatherspoon was a first round pick by Atlanta out of Missouri in the 2010 draft. He missed all of last season due to an Achilles injury. Weatherspoon has started only 41 games and played in 47 games in his five years with the Falcons, so injuries have been a concern.

If Weatherspoon leaves, the Falcons would have to look elsewhere for more help at linebacker. They had been linked with veteran insider linebacker David Harris, but he resigned with the Jets on Friday.

The Falcons have Paul Worrilow, Joplo Bartu and Prince Shembo as the three main linebackers on the roster. They need several more.

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff had said keeping Weatherspoon was a priority, but it would have been a mistake to invest too much in Weatherspoon considering his injury history.

Also Saturday, ESPN NFL Reporter Jeremy Fowler linked the Falcons with former Tampa Bay defensive end Adrian Clayborn. This is not a surprise considering Raheem Morris, Clayborn’s former head coach with the Bucs, is now a top assistant with the Falcons.

Clayborn will turn 27 this summer. He has also had injury issues. Clayborn played in only one game last season as he had a serious biceps injury. That was the second major injury of his career, as Clayborn missed 13 games in 2012 with a knee injury.

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