Could the Atlanta Falcons be a potential landing spot for the three most recent cuts of the Los Angeles Rams: Chris Long, James Laurinaitis, and Jared Cook?
Friday afternoon, the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams have decided to part ways with three NFL veterans: defensive end Chris Long, linebacker James Laurinaitis, and tight end Jared Cook. With the Atlanta Falcons needing help at all three positions heading into 2016, might general manager Thomas Dimitroff and his staff look into acquire any of these three strong NFL veterans?
Chris Long is the most interesting of the three for several reasons. While he has never made it to a Pro Bowl in eight-year NFL career with the then St. Louis Rams, he is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long and brother of Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long.
Long if he were to end up signing with the Atlanta Falcons would mean that the Falcons organization would have all the top three picks of the 2008 NFL Draft: offensive tackle Jake Long (no relation to Chris Long), who went No. 1 to the Miami Dolphins, defensive end Chris Long, who went No. 2 to the then St. Louis Rams, and starting quarterback Matt Ryan, who went No. 3 to the Atlanta Falcons.
Chris Long could make sense in Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme as defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid. He’s reportedly a great team leader and would stand as a great fit in the Atlanta Falcons’ locker room on the defensive side of the ball.
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James Laurinaitis may make sense, as the Atlanta Falcons are looking to overhaul their linebacker corps this offseason. While the Falcons may end up taking a player in the 2016 NFL Draft to satisfy the need for an upgrade at linebacker, perhaps Atlanta could use a veteran leader like Laurinaitis in the middle of their defensive scheme.
Jared Cook had shown both in St. Louis and especially with the Tennessee Titans that he can make the big plays needed from a receiving tight end. He may have stood in the shadows of Delanie Walker and Lance Kendricks with his two previous employers, but the Atlanta Falcons could certainly use more firepower in the receiving game from their tight ends in 2016.
What these three cuts mean for the Los Angeles Rams is that they want to free up some cap space for when they begin their second stint in the City of Angels starting in 2016.
While Chris Long, James Laurinaitis, and Jared Cook are all proven NFL veterans, these are the tough decisions that Rams general manager Les Snead had to make. The Rams have missed the NFC Playoffs every year since the Atlanta Falcons eliminated them in the 2004 Divisional Round at the Georgia Dome.
Expect Thomas Dimitroff to consult his former colleague in Les Snead about how much football is left in the respective tanks of those three NFL veterans. Should Dimitroff and his staff believe there is still value in any of those three former Rams, expect the Atlanta Falcons to have them in for a workout, possibly signing them this offseason. Rise Up!