Football.com - everything football

Choose Your Own Adventure For The Falcons Offseason

By



The Atlanta Falcons made a few incorrect decisions before the start of the season. Unfortunately, they can't just flip back a few pages and take a different course of action. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images.
The Atlanta Falcons made a few incorrect decisions before the start of the season. Unfortunately, they can't just flip back a few pages and take a different course of action. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images.

Do you recall the Choose Your Own Adventure books of the 1980s and 1990s? For those who may have missed out on the grade school phenomenon of the time, the books were designed to provide the reader with decisions that would take their reading path in different directions. 

If you chose as the main character on page 14 to not do your homework in the story, you would be directed to page 26 where you were addicted to drugs and living on the streets. If you chose to do that homework, you would end up on page 36 where you lived in the suburbs with four kids and drove a minivan. Anything could really happen with the various endings.

The 2-8 Atlanta Falcons would certainly like a do-over on the Choose Your Own Adventure: Falcons Offseason book. Let’s take a look at how a few choices have led this Falcons team to a live on the streets, so to speak.

March 1, 2013: Falcons cut RB Michael Turner, DE John Abraham and CB Dunta Robinson.

Alternate March 1, 2013: Falcons cut RB Michael Turner and CB Dunta Robinson. Falcons agree to a five-year contract extension with QB Matt Ryan.

The Falcons reached their deal with Ryan on July 25, 2013. The deal allowed the Falcons to save almost $3 million in salary cap space that would have made Abraham a more affordable piece to keep. While deals for fellow QBs Joe Flacco, Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers were inked before Ryan’s, Atlanta could have given themselves more offseason options had Ryan’s deal been completed sooner.

March 9, 2013: Falcons sign S William Moore to a five-year contract.

Alternate March 9, 2013: Falcons sign LT Sam Baker to a six-year contract.

Moore is the better player of the two, but the NFL is a line of scrimmage league where the closer you are to the football, the more impact you tend to have. Moore is a fine safety, but the team already gave a new contract to S Thomas Decoud. It is like the movie Casino: “you can have one or the other, you can’t have both.” A team can’t have their highest paid defensive players playing 20 yards off of the football.

March 15, 2013: Falcons sign RB Steven Jackson to a three-year contract.

Alternate March 15, 2013: Sleep in, take a trip to the beach, host a bender or lose your phone. Find another way to save $3 million.

Jackson has been a disappointment as it is clear that he no longer has a burst as a 30-year-old running back. The Falcons gave RB Antone Smith a two-year contract extension on March 5, 2013. Smith, Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers have been the most effective backs for the Falcons this season.

April 4, 2013: Falcons release RT Tyson Clabo.

Alternate April 4, 2013: Host a Texas Hold-Em tournament in Texas, visit Stone Mountain or a water park. 

Clabo’s play in 2012 was not the sole reason why he was released from the team. The Falcons spent so heavily early in the offseason on Baker, Moore, Jackson and DE Osi Umenyiora that the team was not in a position to sign their draft picks. The Ryan deal had not yet been completed to open up additional cap space. Had Atlanta forgone a signing of Jackson or Moore, Clabo would be here. Instead, Ryan is protected by free agents from off the street.

2013 Falcons Draft:

First Round: CB Marcus Trufant

Second Round: CB Robert Alford

Fourth Round: DE Malliciah Goodman

Fourth Round: TE Levine Toilolo

Fifth Round: DE Stansly Maponga

Alternate 2013 Falcons Draft:

First Round: LB Alec Ogltree

Second Round: CB Robert Alford

Third Round: RB Knile Davis

Fourth Round: DE Malliciah Goodman

Fourth Round: TE Levine Toilolo

Fifth Round: RT Jordan Mills

There is nothing wrong with Trufant as an Atlanta Falcon. The issue is that the Falcons once again traded a quality pick in a third rounder to move up and select Trufant. In their previous position, Ogltree went to the St. Louis Rams. Davis landed a few picks behind the Falcons traded third round selection and went to Kansas City. And Mills, a 10-game starter in Chicago thus far, was taken in the spot the Falcons vacated by trading up for Maponga.

Maybe the 2014 edition of this book will be a little less chaotic.