FLOWERY BRANCH -- There’s a misguided perception that the Falcons have been twiddling their thumbs in free agency.
Since the league’s new business year has started the Falcons, with the latest deals to safety Kemal Ishmael (one-year $2.5 million) and wide receiver Andre Roberts (one-year, $1.8 million) they 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, the team had dinner with free agent defense tackle Dontari Poe last night and 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.
Falcons general manager Thomas 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 Micheal 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 Tuesday.
Ishmael, who was allowed to reach unrestricted free agency status, is a valued safety reserve who can also play weakside linebacker.
The Falcons, in need of depth at the wide receiver position, signed veteran journeyman 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 been re-signed.
Roberts, who played at The Citadel, was a third-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the 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 is also 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).
NEW TO THE TEAM -- ($12.1 million)
--WR Andrew Roberts signed a one-year, $1.8 million deal.
STAYIING ($26.6 million, not counting restricted tenders)
--SS Kemal Ishmael signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal.
–LB LaRoy Reynolds signed a one-year, $1.3 million deal.
–QB Matt Schaub signed a two-year extension for $9 million.
–TE Levine Toilolo signed a four-year $12 million deal.
–DT Courtney Upshaw signed a one-year, $1.15 million deal.
–CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson re-sign to a one-year $775,000 deal.
–WR Taylor Gabriel (made just $510,000 last season) and has received a second-round tender from the team for $2.7 million.
–FS Ricardo Allen received his tender.
–OG Ben Garland received a tender from the team.
–DB Akeem King received a tender.
--DT Tyson Jackson was released by the team.
SIGNED WITH OTHER TEAMS
–FB Patrick DiMarco is set to sign a four-year, $8.4 million deal with the Bills.
–WR Eric Weems signed with Tennessee.
--WR Aldrick Robinson signed a two-year, $6 million deal with San Francisco.
–LB Paul Worrilow sign a one-year deal with the Lions.
--OT Tom Compton signed with the Chicago Bears.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
–DT Jonathan Babineaux wanted to return, but the team is allowing him to reach free agency after 12 years of service. Since being drafted in the second round back 2005 out of Iowa, Babineaux has played in 185 games and made 133 starts for the Falcons. “Babs has done a great job for us over the years,” Dimitroff said. “He’s been such a great leader for us.”
–RG Chris Chester is contemplating retirement. The team would like for him to return.
--DE Dwight Freeney said he wants to keep playing, but the team will revisit the veteran later in free agency.
–SS Dashon Goldson was safety insurance and not expected to be re-signed.
–TE Jacob Tamme said he wants to return, but the team will allow him to hit the open market. The development of Austin Hooper has been key.
–LB Sean Weatherspoon wants to return, but the team may look elsewhere for depth behind the talented linebacker corps.
–LB Philip Wheeler a key veteran backup, who can start in a pinch. The Columbus, Ga. native wants to return.
–CB Deji Olatoye played some snaps as injuries mounted.
–LB Josh Keyes is a speedy player.
–TE D.J. Tialavea provided some depth.
–WR Nick Williams he was a favorite of the former offensive coordinator.
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