The Falcons are not the splash brothers.
Instead of sexy, headline grabbing and splashy free-agency moves, the Falcons have been methodical in their approach since the start of the NFL’s new business year Thursday.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff stated that the Falcons would concentrate on their own roster and try to find some value on the open market.
The Falcons re-signed safety Kemal Ishamel to a one-year, $2.5 million deal and added free agent returner/receiver Andre Roberts with a one-year, $1.8 million deal late Monday.
The team had dinner and visited with defensive tackle Dontari Poe on Monday and Tuesday, but have not reached a deal. Poe, the 11th overall player taken in the 2012 NFL draft, made $6.1 million last season with Kansas City.
After the Ishmael and Roberts’ deals, the Falcons have $14.5 million left under the salary cap, according to NFLPA salary cap report. Of that total, the team must allocate $4.6 million for the 2017 rookie class.
Since the league’s new business year began, the Falcons have spent $38.7 million.
If you count the contract extensions for cornerback Robert Alford (four years for $38 million) and tackle Ryan Schraeder (six years for $33 million), the Falcons have spent $109.7 million to maintain the roster of the NFC champions.
Also, in addition to courting Poe the Falcons met with Cincinnati running back Rex Burkhead. The team has the parameters of the Desmond Trufant extension set, but they’ll execute it later over the offseason.
Dimitroff said that the team will not grant running back Devonta Freeman a contract extension during this free-agency period.
Like Schraeder and Alford last season and former player defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and wide receiver Michael Jenkins, during his first season with the team back in 2008, Dimitroff does contract extensions in October or November of the regular season. That’s likely where Freeman’s deal is slated to be completed.
“We know the market,” Dimitroff said during his appearance on the team’s flagship radio station on Monday.
Ishmael, who was allowed to reach unrestricted free-agency status, is a valued safety reserve who can also play weakside linebacker.
“We are pleased to be able to get Kemal back,” Dimitroff said. “He is one of the toughest competitors we have and continued to battle every week last year despite a shoulder injury.”
The Falcons value Ishmael’s versatility.
“He has shown the ability to play both safety and linebacker for us, and that will continue to be valuable in our scheme,” Dimitroff said.
The Falcons, in need of depth at wide receiver, signed the veteran Roberts.
The Falcons lost wide receiver depth when Aldrick Robinson signed with San Francisco and Eric Weems signed with Tennessee. Also, Nick Williams has not re-signed.
Roberts, who played at The Citadel, was a third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2010. He played four seasons with the Cardinals, two with Washington and one with Detroit.
Over his career, Roberts has had 456 targets and 253 catches (43.1 percent) for 2,899 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Roberts also is a punt and kickoff returner. He had 20 punt returns for 246 yards and two touchdowns last season. He also had 33 kickoff returns for 747 yards (22.6).
“Andre is an experienced receiver that will come in and compete for our returner spot as well as provide depth at wide receiver,” Dimitroff said.
In addition to Roberts, the Falcons signed defensive end Jack Crawford, formerly of the Cowboys, in free agency. He signed a three-year, $10.3 million contract.
“We are really happy with the moves we have been able to make in free agency so far, and we feel we have added some really solid pieces while continuing our focus on retaining our own players,” Dimitroff said.