ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons are taking a modest, low-key approach to the initial hours of NFL free agency on Tuesday, reportedly agreeing to terms with linebackers Brooks Reed and Justin Durant.
An eight-year pro from Hampton Institute, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Durant (age 29) has spent time with the Jaguars (2007-10), Lions (2011-12) and Cowboys (2013-14), racking up 3.5 career sacks, five forced fumbles and notching two separate campaigns of 80-plus tackles (2009, 2012).
The 28-year-old Reed, in turn, has been more prolific as a pass-rusher, tallying 14.5 sacks over four seasons with the Texans — including six as a rookie in 2011.
Versatility is also a crucial trait for the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Reed, who played along Houston’s defensive line in certain packages.
That may be a prerequsite with the Falcons, as well, as new head coach Dan Quinn (formerly the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator) favors fast, physical and ball-hawking defenders in his new system.
The Falcons, who posted only 10 combined victories for the previous two years, may undergo a substantial roster overhaul this spring, rebuilding a defense that ranked 32nd in total yards allowed in 2014 … and restructuring a tailback corps which lacks a workhorse rusher.