Team Needs Start With Veteran Decisions

The Falcons must determine if they want to re-sign veteran safety Lawyer Milloy, linebacker Keith Brooking, cornerback Domonique Foxworth and defensive end Chauncey Davis. They would like to have all four back, but in these tough economic times they are not willing to overpay.

Strongside linebacker Michael Boley appears headed off to another team via free agency. He lost his starting position to Coy Wire late in the season.
In an unconventional move, the Falcons are expected to put the franchise tag on punter Michael Koenen, who also handles kickoffs and holds for field goal kicker Jason Elam.


1. Tight end (pass catcher): The Falcons want to provide quarterback Matt Ryan with a tight end who can serve as a safety valve and get down the middle of the seams against Cover-Two zone defense. They would be delighted if Oklahoma State's Brandon Pettigrew drops to them at No. 24 in the first round.

2. Linebacker (weak and strong-side): The lack of impact plays from the linebacker corps will be addressed. Boley and Brooking could be gone next season.

3. Strong safety (strong safety): Milloy is 35 and his replacement must be obtained, even if he elects to re-sign with the Falcons.

MEDICAL WATCH DT Trey Lewis (knee) is hopeful to be ready when offseason conditioning starts on March 23.
--OT Renardo Foster (knee) could provide depth.



--LB Michael Boley lost his starting job; team thinks he's just a cover linebacker. Will not be back.
--DE Chauncey Davis should be re-signed; has out-played starter Jamaal Anderson in limited time.
--CB Domonique Foxworth was team's top corner, but Falcons don't want to overpay.
--OT Wayne Gandy is veteran who could provide quality depth behind some young tackles.
--LB Tony Gilbert was inactive for all 16 games.
--DT Grady Jackson, a big run stuffer, could be at the end of the road.
--DT Jason Jefferson is a solid backup, who played well in limited duty. Could find work elsewhere.
--P Michael Koenen could receive the franchise tag, which comes with a $2.48 million price tag.
--SS Lawyer Milloy has maybe one or two years left. The Falcons need to re-sign him for his toughness and leadership.
--TE Justin Peelle was a steady pro, but he lacks the explosion needed for the position.
--TE Marcus Pollard was signed late in the season and probably won't return.
--LB Coy Wire played well against the run. He is a priority to re-sign because of his versatility.
--RT Tyson Clabo has started for last two seasons and played with mean streak.
--RG Harvey Dahl won the starting job last year. Played well against the run and gave up only one sack in 16 starts.
--SS Jamaal Fudge was solid on special teams and fine in relief. Probably is not a full-time starter, but his speed makes him valuable.
--OL Pat McCoy spent the season on injured reserve and might not be tendered.
--OL Ben Wilkerson was helpful on special teams and provides depth for the interior offensive line.
--OT Will Svitek: FA; terms unknown.
--LT Todd Weiner (retired).

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