The Atlanta Falcons are dealing with injury concerns that have reached epic proportions, and after Sunday’s win over the Bucs, the team was left with a gaping hole at the linebacker position. Reports are sketchy on the status of linebackers Akeem Dent and Stephen Nicholas, but each player is banged up, and with that, the team has made a move to address that position.
The Falcons have signed LB Thomas Howard, waived LB Jamar Chaney and signed S Sean Baker to practice squad #ATLvsAZ
— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) October 22, 2013
Jason La Canfora of CBS first reported the move to sign Howard, but the team announced the signing moments later, and they provided the information concerning linebacker Jamar Chaney being waived to create the roster spot.
Howard is a 30-year-old player who was last seen in 2012 playing for the Cincinnati Bengals, and he is a 7-year veteran of the league. He exceeded 70 solo tackles in each of his first four seasons in the NFL (all with the Oakland Raiders), and even was a 15-game starter in the league as recently as 2011.
Howard did miss most of the 2012 season with injury concerns in his knee, but this is a proven commodity (at least to some extent) that should be, at minimum, a quality piece of depth to add to Paul Worrilow, Joplo Bartu, and Omar Gaither. Of course, there is always concern with a player in his 30’s who was previously unemployed, so expectations shouldn’t be skyrocketing with this acquisition, but there doesn’t seem to be a more high-profile name on the available market.
As far as Chaney is concerned, the 27-year-old appeared in only 1 game this season for Atlanta, and didn’t record any statistical data. He was considered to be a bit of a “flyer” signing after appearing in 3 seasons with the Eagles, but the marriage apparently didn’t last.
On the whole, this screams of a move that Thomas Dimitroff and company are using to position the team for a playoff push. Rumors of the team moving in a not-so-competitive direction were certainly overstated in the wake of the Julio Jones injury, etc., and this is an organization still fully engaged in “win now” mode.