Originally posted on Grits Blitz  |  Last updated 3/15/12

Eric "Special" Weems is taking his talents to Soldier Field

With the departure of Eric Weems via free agency the Falcons lost a very good playmaker. No matter the NFL’s kickoff rules it is vital to have a big-time playmaking threat returning kicks and Weems provided that. That said, the Falcons, as you more than likely know, are right up against the NFL salary cap and don’t have much room to do anything big. Weems replacement won’t come from far or wide, or from a big name not currently on the roster.

The Falcons’ best option is to replace Weems with a player currently under contract and use Weems’ roster spot to try and fill depth at another position, which will be difficult in reference to quality depth without a series of roster moves cutting salary (editor note: Sam Baker says hello). Nonetheless, options are limited to some degree but certainly not bleak. Following is a list of potential replacements for Weems. Three are currently under contract with Atlanta and the fourth could be a good fit as both a kick-returner and fourth receiver.

Harry Douglas- Now that the team has Douglas locked up he is one of the best options to return kicks for the Falcons. Before his knee injury in 2009 Douglas showed legitimate playmaking ability, flashed of which returned last season with 2011 being his second year removed from the surgery. Now three years removed from the injury there shouldn't be much concern in having Douglas in a high-impact role.

Julio Jones- I know, I know, everybody is screaming at me right this moment that there is no way the Falcons should put their prized possession in such a high-impact position. Well, I’d argue that his value is a big reason that they should. Jones has proven to be one of the best playmakers in football already (and still is not finished maturing into a pro). The Falcons are already facing a season where game-breaking plays could be at a minimum. It only makes sense to put your single best weapon in position to make plays.

Jacquizz Rodgers- In Rodgers the Falcons have yet another speed guy who’s role must increase in order for point production to be average, let alone rise. While Rodgers first season didn’t offer anything noteworthy by way of stats (not his fault), he has proven for years his ability to maximize every ounce of his 5’6” sub-200 pound body. He is no doubt an open field threat to go the distance, but he is also quite compact and strong for a smaller player which will allow him to shed & bounce, a primary function in returning kicks.

Ted Ginn, Jr- While I’m not in favor of the Falcons adding skill players in light of the major deficiencies at other positions they may choose to do so in order to save their front-line running backs and wide receivers from having to be returners. Ginn has been one the better returners in the NFL during his career and just came off being a big part of the San Fransisco 49er’s run to the NFC Championship Game. Ginn is a quality player overall who could provide the Falcons athletic flexibility overall in addition to being a very good return man.

 

Joe McCollum is a contributor to the Grits Blitz Blog. Follow him on Twitter @Joe_Mac_ and read his college football writing at ChuckOliver.Net.

[follow]

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker