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*There were a lot of dismal moments for Atlanta in 2013, but few sadder than watching tears stream down the face of defensive tackle Corey Peters as he sat on the bench with a torn right Achilles at San Francisco last Monday night. The four-year veteran was doubtless sobbing not only because the injury prematurely ended his best season in the NFL, but probably because of what it could mean financially. The former Kentucky standout, a third-round choice in 2010, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and, now facing an eight- or nine-month rehabilitation, teams may be reluctant to invest too much until he can demonstrate that he is whole again and not damaged goods. The ironic twist could be that the injury, in a sort of convoluted way might actually aid an Atlanta franchise that could be in need of tackles. If the consensus around the league is that Peters should only get a one-year deal to prove he’s healthy, then the Falcons might be able to make a competitive offer. And Peters might decide that, on a one-year “show me” deal, he’s best off proving himself with the team he knows best, and then going back into the market in 2015.
Then again, there is this twist as well: When Peters injured his foot in 2012, the Falcons placed him on the non-football injury list and paid him at a reduced salary, which cost him nearly $100,000. It remains to be seen if there are any residual hard feelings from that. Peters, just 25, had career bests in both tackles (46) and sacks (five) in his 15 games this season, and has outplayed his draft level. Both of the Falcons’ other two top tackles, Jonathan Babineaux and Peria Jerry, are slated for free agency as well. One of the league leaders in tackles for loss (not counting sacks) during his career, Babineaux possesses the best resume of the trio, but is 32 years old.