Lofa Tatupu’s injury could make way for another Falcons’ veteran addition such as E.J. Henderson.
FLOWERY BRANCH-The Atlanta Falcons linebacking corps just got thinner. They attempted to sign a potential replacement for the departed Curtis Lofton when they brought in former Seahawks great Lofa Tatupu who sat out 2011 after injuries curtailed his 2010 season.
The bug continues to bite as Tatupu injured himself in a weight lifting session on Thursday according to a team statement.
“Lofa sustained a pectoral injury while working out recently,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “At this point, we do not know the extent of the injury, but we expect to have more information early next week.”
Former University of Georgia standout Akeem Dent has been split first team reps with Tatupu with a great deal of success so the Falcons may not have an issue with a starter at that position but now depth is a factor.
An ideal free agent pickup could be former Vikings LB E.J. Henderson who is surprisingly still a free agent after making the 2011 Pro Bowl.
Last year Henderson did not miss a start and racked up 109 tackles and forced three fumbles.
Henderson bounced back after a dramatic leg injury in 2009 that would have ended most careers during a Monday night game against the Cardinals.
He’s obviously overcame that yet there is a strong curiosity here as to why he is not on a roster.
The 31-year-old is undoubtedly asking for money or terms that most teams don’t want to cough up.
Anderson is without a doubt the best MLB that is available in free agency as he comes from a 4-3 scheme that is similar to what the Falcons run.
Having played with current starting DE Ray Edwards could not hurt his chances at getting a look either.
The severity of Tatupu’s injury will obviously tip the hand of whether or not Atlanta will go grocery shopping, but in all reality they will elect to add somebody to their depth chart.
The Falcons are currently $2.8 million dollars under the cap which makes a major move nearly impossible.
The good news for this scenario is the widely held view in the marketplace that Henderson is asking for too much money and that he should be compensated right at or just above the veteran’s minimum.
In his case that would be $910,000.
If Tatupu’s injury is serious enough to warrant a lengthy recovery the Falcons may be able to cut bait with him somehow under the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list.
Tatupu’s 2012 cap number is $1.05 million dollars and if he could be shipped to the NFI list, the Falcons would be off the hook and could afford to bring in Henderson.
The caveat to that possibility is where Tatupu was working out at. It would in theory be hard to swing this move if he was working out under team supervision.
If he was working out under his own private circumstances, it would be hard to see why the Falcons would not at least try to clear the space under NFI.
Tatupu is going to see the world famous Dr. James Andrews is Alabama to figure this thing out. That tidbit alone could be the death-knell on his comeback season.
Players very rarely if ever go to see this man for anything that is minor.
Whether it’s Henderson or some dark horse undrafted free agent that will get his opportunity to shine, the odds are that a new bird is coming to the nest.