Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall / Foter.com / CC BY-ND
As of March 15th, the Falcons have yet to sign a veteran pass rusher.
So it's natural for most fans, even though it may be early in free agency, to feel a sense of restlesness as they see so many top-tier pass rushers find new homes.
That said, let's take a deep breath and see what the market still has to offer.
Freeney, a 12-year veteran, is coming off a season in which he posted the second-lowest sack total of his career. His production has actually steadily been decling since 2009, from 13.5 sacks in 09' to five sacks in 2012.
So why would the Falcons want a declining defensive end?
Well, not only should Freeney be a cap-friendly option, but his experience could prove to be invaluable for the Falcons raw defensive line.
The Denver Broncos are also cited as a team interested in Freeney, as he spent most of his career as a teammate of Peyton Manning.
It's also worth noting the Freeney and John Abraham spent Friday, March 15th, meeting the the Patriots.
Rumors of Umenyiora coming to Atlanta have been reported for quite some time now and it's quite possible that the Falcons' organization had Umenyiora's name in mind when releasing Abraham.
Umenyiora posted solid production in 2012, with six sacks, two forced fumbles and 43 tackles. He also recently stated to USA Today that he would win Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
"I'm shooting for defensive player of the league this year," Umenyiora, a defensive end for the New York Giants since the team drafted him in 2003, wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports. "Whatever team I feel like I can help win and will give me a chance to do that, that's where I'm going. The money is a byproduct of that, you know."
He even went as far to write "remeber we had this conversation."
Umenyiora, should he come to the Falcons, would have a unique and ideal opportunity to be a premiere pass rusher one of the leagues worst pass rushes. It would certainly be an easy way to standout for DPOY voting. Plus, it doesn't hurt he already lives in Atlanta.
Dumervil was officially released from the Broncos at 4 p.m. EST, March 15th, so the Falcons are free to pursue the defensive end.
Dumervil is my personal favorite of the three and I'm hoping he's pursued heavily. And trust me, you should too.
Why? Well, the 29-year-old posted 11 sacks in 2012, which was good for 14th-highest in the NFL. And since he came into the league in 2006, he's only posted less than eight sacks in once.
You could even make the argument that he helped make Von Miller. But that's a whole other topic.
Regardless, Dumervil is exactly what the Falcons need. To be honest, any of these guys would significantly bolster the teams ability to get to the quarterback.
Yet as always, in Dimitroff we trust. After all, he's done a pretty spectacular job so far.
So, we want your take. Which of these three would you prefer the team pursue? What other names did I leave off that you think could be effective? What other needs do you believe the Falcons need to address defensively, and what positions should be prioritized?