... the Falcons don't find the right RB in this year's draft.
I really think from Dunn's performance down the stretch, he proved to people that he still has a few years left in the tank. At this point, Dunn is 30, but I think he could have 3 or more solid years like this past one if he's rested early in the season. The two-headed backfield has worked wonders for him, despite his claims that he's at his best when he gets the ball 20 or so times. It is true, when you give him the ball a lot, he does play well, but I think if it means limiting him to 10-15 carries for 6-10 weeks of the year, that's good. It just adds more longevity to his body.
As it stands now, you can almost certainly guarantee that 2005 will be Dunn's last in Atlanta. It's amazing that he's back right now. His current cap hit is about $5.08 million, and next year it shoots up to $5.58 million. That truly is just too much money to be paying a part-time player. The Falcons ate a $1 million roster bonus already this year for Dunn, and I doubt that happens again next year, especially when you have potentially $3.4 million in cap savings by cutting him (compared to about $1.8 million this past year).
So it's highly doubtful that Dunn will return to the Falcons in 2006, unless of course the team parts ways with T.J. Duckett between now and March '06. So I suggest we give him an extension, that way it lowers his '06 and '07 cap hits (the latter being about $9.5 million at this point), with a possibility it reduces the '05 number as well (if done early enough).
That way we can have a bit more security at the RB position, and we won't be in a situation where a rookie will need to be brought in and immediately have to step up and be the #1 or #2 guy.
Now of course, if the Falcons draft a quality RB early enough, this doesn't become a necessary thing. Because in that case, the Falcons can groom this guy for a year and push Dunn out the door after this upcoming season and plug in the rookie in 2006. But I'm not talking about a 6th round player, I'm talking more about a guy that is a 3rd or 4th round pick. A guy with the upside to be a feature back, not someone that is just a purely situational guy.
RB is a position I think needs to be addressed, but if we exit this draft without securing our future guy, I don't think it's a big problem. And that has to do with the fact I think #28 still has a lot of gas in the tank.
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I definitely agree Pudge! I watched Dunn play OK early last season, but he really found his stride coming down the stretch. He is a major reason we made it to the NFC Championship. Dunn might say he needs more carries, but Duckett is a security blanket for his career continuing. Both, alongside Vick, will continue to be productive. McKay could use an extention now to allow for more cap room as well. If he could find a way to save a couple mil by renegotiating Dunn's contract, we could keep Draft around for depth or add some other players and have room for our draft picks.
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