Originally written on Grits Blitz  |  Last updated 3/9/12

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 22: Jason Snelling #44 of the Atlanta Falcons runs the ball against the New York Giants on November 22, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Falcons 34-31 in overtime. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Snelling avoids free agency and is back in the fold

The Falcons have been busy this week. Free Agency officially begins March 13th at 4 PM EST so the team has been working hard to get some of it's key free agents under contract. As we know, Brent Grimes was the first as he was franchised. Then the Falcons re-signed safety Thomas Decoud and pass rusher and one-time kick-off artist Kroy Biermann. The latest Falcons player to be re-signed was running back Jason Snelling.

Originally, the popular thought was the Snelling would be allowed to walk and the Falcons would search out another back-up via the draft or free agency. The news broke on Thursday that Snelling had re-signed. The AJC's D Orlando Ledbetter reported that he signed for three years for $4 million. I like having Snelling back, but I'm absolutely stoked about those numbers. That's a tremendous bargain for Snelling, who is 28 years old and has proven to be a reliable hand when called upon.

Statistically, Snelling peaked in his third season in 2009 when he totalled 613 yards on a career high 142 attempts. He had 4 TDs and also caught 30 balls with 1 TD. He saw his numbers decrease in 2010 as he ran 87 times for 324 yards with 2 TDs but did have 44 receptions for 3 TDs. In 2011, he had his lowest output since 2008. He only ran the ball 44 times for 151 yards (the 3.4 ypc was his lowest since his rookie season) but he did catch 26 balls for 179 yards.

An underrated aspect of Snelling's game is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Over the last three years he has led Falcons running backs in receptions every season with an average of 33 catches per season. It's nice to have Snelling back as it provides good depth in the backfield along with Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers. It will be interesting to see how Snelling is utilized in Dirk Koetter's offense.

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