53 players avoided seeing (or Skyping) The Turk on Tuesday.
Every year, certain players make it through the battle of minicamp, training camp and preseason both healthy and outperforming multiple other players vying for one spot. Years of work stretching back to pee wee football, countless hits, and weights, and their dreams are finally achieved after making it to the final 53. It should be time to celebrate such an unlikely accomplishment beating all of the odds.
Until the very next day when that player’s team successfully makes a waiver claim.
The 53-man roster is always a thing of flux, whether before the regular season or between games.
In fact, that is true for playoff teams and teams flirting with top picks. Atlanta is nearly guaranteed to see some changes as soon as Wednesday, with even more moves to come before the start of the regular season. The new general manager and coaching staff are still stuck with plenty of players from the old regime out of necessity. After all, who can they sign in free agency when there is no cap space?
On Tuesday, over 850 players, both veterans and rookies, became available either via free agency or waivers. The Falcons can make some low-cost moves for scheme fits. After all, Terry Fontenot certain would like to add some upgrades at guard and edge, and some additional depth at running back and throughout the secondary. If anything, Fontenot needs to work his magic now more than free agency to patch over those liabilities with bargain bin players.
Also important in this equation is the Falcons have near the top pick among those waived players. Players on their rookie deals are subject to waivers. Currently, the Falcons are 4th in priority for waivers. That means the Falcons get anyone and everyone they want who make it past the Jaguars, Jets, and Texans.
That is not to suggest a dearth of talent available. Pernell McPhee has ties to the team and should be a cheap situational pass rusher. Wayne Gallman would be intriguing running back depth. Literally every guard demands some consideration. Thanks to the new staff, there are close connections to multiple teams, and thus, multiple players.
Ultimately, that means The Turk is still out there and the Falcons could and should still have a lot of new faces in the next two weeks.