According to D. Orlando Ledbetter, of the AJC, the Atlanta Falcons are set to sign kick returner/cornerback Javier Arenas to a one-year contract today:
Falcons agree to one-year deal with Arenas http://t.co/HbmUakJtEK
— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) March 18, 2014
It has been clear for a while that the Falcons were looking to beef up their return game on special teams, and although Arenas doesn’t bring the high-profile name of Devin Hester, this move appears to be a decent depth play. Arenas should get most of his playing time returning kicks and punts because like our friends at The Falcoholic have said, it’s unlikely that Arenas plays over Atlanta’s current group of talented corners.
Here is a bit of what Dave Choate said about the signing in his post on TheFalcoholic.com:
He’s likely going to be viewed as a fourth corner in Atlanta, and I doubt he could beat out Robert McClain for any significant snaps as the nickel corner. That’s where he’ll play if injuries strike or the Falcons kick McClain out wide at times, though.
And yes, Scott Pioli did draft Javier Arenas. Why do you ask?
He’s also a sure-handed if distinctly mediocre kick returner who had zero punt returns for the Cardinals a year ago, so it’s difficult to see him being a sizable upgrade over Jacquizz Rodgers, Harry Douglas, Robert McClain and whoever else the Falcons had planned to throw at returner if they stood pat there. He averaged just 21.4 yards per return for Arizona a year ago.
Choate goes on to say that he doesn’t think Devin Hester is out of the picture for the Falcons, but I find it hard to believe that they would go after two “kick return guys.” Also, Hester has made it clear that he wants to play for the Miami Dolphins and many other teams are interested in signing him.
While it might not be a sexy move for the Falcons, Arenas seems to fit a need and give them some depth in the backfield. Falcons assistant GM Scott Pioli was also with the Kansas City Chiefs when they drafted Arenas in 2010, and he might believe that Arenas still has some potential.
For me, the bottom line is that the Atlanta Falcons have more pressing issues at other positions and it’s probably better for them to go ahead and lock up Arenas for a year, rather than getting into a bidding war for a 31-year-old kick returner.
What are your thoughts on this deal?