By John Manasso, FOX Sports South.com and Alex Marvez, FOX Sports.com
Having already made a major impact in the free-agent market by signing running back Steven Jackson and defensive end Osi Umenyiora, the Atlanta Falcons are continuing to try to beef up their defense in the form of four-time Pro-Bowl tackle Richard Seymour.
FOX Sports.com and FOX Sports South.com has learned that Seymour and the Falcons are currently in contract talks, although the Falcons do not have a great deal of salary cap room at this point.
The 13-year pro and three-time Super Bowl-winner with the New England Patriots is interested in playing for the Falcons, not far from where he played his college ball at Georgia. Presently, Seymour is training in metro Atlanta as he seeks a contract.
Defensive line play has not been a strong suit for the Falcons in recent years and their ranks have grown thinner in terms of experienced players within the last year just as the franchise is seeking to improve upon last season’s appearance in the NFC Championship Game. They replaced John Abraham, whom they cut, with Umenyiora but they also cut ineffective defensive end Ray Edwards in the middle of the 2012 season and lost Vance Walker, who evolved into an effective tackle, to Oakland via free agency.
As a result, the Falcons will rely on a couple of untested young players and rookies drafted no earlier than the fourth round at end while going with Corey Peters and Jonathan Babineaux at tackle with a few other young players in the mix at that spot, as well.
Seymour could represent a big upgrade at the tackle position. The Falcons not only have struggled to defend read-option teams like Carolina, Seattle and San Francisco but also have gotten little in the way of a pass rush up the middle against strong throwing teams like New Orleans. Penetration up the middle from a player like the 6-foot-6, 317-pound Seymour, who has 57 1/2 career sacks, would benefit them in a major way.