ATHENS, Ga. – The Falcons haven't been part of the free-agency flurry the way other teams have this season, and while a portion of the fan base may be clamoring for a big-name acquisition, the team is following a specific approach.
Speaking at Georgia's pro day on Wednesday, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff updated the team's outlook on free agency, explaining that they prefer to keep the guys who understand their unique brand of football and have helped them achieve success in the past.
"We want to continue to re-sign our football players, because we know them well," Dimitroff said. "We know that they come up through [Dan] Quinn's system and they buy in, and that's a big thing. Instead of just going out randomly and looking for players from other football teams, we'd love to continue to re-sign our football players, which is a big part of our free agency push this year."
"Signing our players back, which is our number one and will always be our number one [priority]. The guys that we believe in on our team, we want to sign them. Focus on spending money on those players, of course, and then we look at free agency and we look to upgrade the depth of positions."
Atlanta signed former 49ers guard during the first week of free agency, adding another veteran to a position that many viewed as an area the Falcons could look to upgrade.
When it comes to acquiring players, the Falcons make sure they get the guy who is right for their scheme and locker room. Fusco, for example, has direct experience playing in the outside zone blocking scheme the Falcons run after spending a season in San Francisco with former Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
Dimitroff reiterated that approach on Wednesday, saying the team looks for a few key traits in the players they consider signing.
"As far as other players we're looking at right now in free agency, we want to make sure we get guys in here that are all about competitive toughness and all about urgency, and of course, athleticism. We have a really specific focus on the type of player that we want in here. Again, that said, we have a number of players that we're trying to re-sign from our own team and that's where the focus is."
The Falcons are the only NFC team to make the playoffs the last two seasons, and it's clear they are focused on keeping their core group of players together for the foreseeable future. It's also clear that any addition to the roster will be made with careful consideration and fits the style of play the Falcons have adopted under head coach Dan Quinn. "Our big thing is we are very particular about the type of people we bring in, like every team is, and how they fit in with Dan Quinn's approach and our coaches' approach. That's very important for us."