Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Falcons to sign linebackers Brooks Reed, Justin Durant; Morgan to visit


FLOWERY BRANCH -- The Falcons are set to sign linebacker Brooks Reed to a five-year, $22-million contract, according to his agent Kenneth Zuckerman of Priority Sports and Entertainment.

"He's on his way to the ATL to sign," Zuckerman said.

The Falcons are also set to sign former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Justin Durant, running back Antone Smith and guard Mike Person.

Former Georgia Tech star Derrick Morgan, who played with Tennessee for the past five seasons, is coming in for a visit with the Falcons, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.

The Atlanta Falcons were considered the “front runners” to land Reed, formerly of the Houston Texans. The process was later described as a three-team race.

“He likes their defense,” said Zuckerman on Monday. "He can play all of their linebacker positions and they like his pass-rushing ability.”

Reed was selected in the second-round of the 2011 draft (42nd overall) by the Houston Texans out of Arizona.

The signing of Reed would soften the blow of apparently losing linebacker Sean Weatherspoon to the Arizona Cardinals.

Players could not sign with teams until 4 p.m. on Tuesday at the start of the league's new business year. The league's open negotiating period opened on Saturday.

Reed, 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, is durable. He has started 52 of 60 games over his career and has played in 16 games in three of the four seasons. Weatherspoon, who slated to sign a one-year, $4 million deal, has been oft-injured and has just played in seven games over the past two seasons.

Last season for the Texans, Reed, 28, had 41 combined tackles, three sacks and one interception in 16  games (13 starts). He had six sacks during his rookie season but hasn’t had more than three in a season since.

The Falcons believe that Reed’s numbers can improve dramatically like Connor Barwin, another former Texan. He left for Philadelphia after the 2012 season and had five sacks in 2013 and 14.5 last season for the Eagles.

The New York Jets, Chicago, Arizona and Oakland are also interested in Reed.

Durant, 29, has played with Jacksonville, Detroit and Dallas. He was a second-round pick out of Hampton in 2007.

Durant suffered a torn bicep and only played in six games for the Cowboys. He had surgery to repair the tear.

He was leading the Cowboys in tackles with 61 at the time of his injury. He also had two forced fumbles, four tackles for a loss and an interception.

He has missed 16 games over the past two seasons, which both ended on injured reserve.

Former NFL executive Bill Polian gives Morgan a “C” grade in this free-agent class.

The former Georgia Tech standout was drafted 16th overall in 2011 by the Titans.

Morgan, 26, has amassed 23 sacks over five seasons. He’s had at least six sacks in each of the pass three seasons. At 6-3, 296 pounds, he has the size that Quinn likes.

FALCONS POTENTIAL UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

DB Javier Arenas

LB Kroy Biermann

K Matt Bryant - signed a three-year contract extension.

G-T Gabe Carimi -- will not be re-signed.

S Charles Godfrey -- has re-signed with the team.

G Mike Johnson

S Dwight Lowery

DE Cliff Matthews re-signed a two-year contract on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

CB Robert McClain -- has drawn interests from four teams including the Dolphins and Saints.

TE Bear Pascoe is not returning to the team.

DT Corey Peters is headed for free agency. Team has a lot of cash tied up in Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai. Also, snaps would free up for development of Rashede Hageman.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers

OT Jonathan Scott

RB Antone Smith - The New York Giants are interested in signing Smith.

DE Osi Umenyiora

LB Sean Weatherspoon Team is working hard on this deal, but Arizona may be waiting in the wings to make a big push for him.

WR Eric Weems

CB Josh Wilson

QB T.J. Yates

FALCONS STORIES

Falcons to focus on adding another cornerstone

Quinn-Dimitroff partnership off to a strong start

Q&A with Falcons head coach Dan Quinn at the combine

Falcons coach Dan Quinn fired up to watch pass-rushers

Q&A with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff on moving forward

Falcons to keep character filter on draft picks

Falcons close to re-signing kicker Matt Bryant

Falcons LT Jake Matthews recovering from offseason surgery

Falcons plan to extend WR Julio Jones contract

Falcons could target Denver TE Julius Thomas in free agency

Falcons' roster gutting could have big names (i.e. Steven Jackson)

Cutting the Falcons roster -- Should they stay or should they go?

COMBINE STORIES

Todd Gurley speaks about autograph-signing caper

Bucs appear set to cast future with Jameis Winston

Todd Gurley intriguing prospect to NFL teams

Alabama stars Cooper, Collins headed for first round

Chris Conley puts on a dazzling show at the combine

Waller, Smelter out to prove NFL standing at the combine

VIDEO DEPARTMENT

Watch: D. Led -- Falcons news at the combine

Watch: NFL Network's Mike Mayock at the combine

Watch: Jameis Winston to throw at the combine

Watch: Todd Gurley has interviews set up with 24 NFL teams

Watch: Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the combine

Watch: Falcons coach Dan Quinn at the combine

Watch: Rams GM Les Snead on the pass-rush talent at the combine

FALCONS COMBINE MEETINGS

Oregon DE Arik Armstead talked scheme with the Falcons

Falcons met with Alabama quarterback Blake Sims

Falcons to meet with Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr.

Falcons met with Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson

Falcons met with Alabama safety Landon Collins

PHOTO GALLERIES

Photographs from the 2015 NFL scouting combine

Photos of players with Georgia ties at the scouting combine

Photos of NFL pass rusher set to enter free agency

 


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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.