The Atlanta Falcons are close to signing veteran defensive tackle Richard Seymour, according to Fox Sports. The move would give the Falcons a versatile defensive lineman for their multiple-front schemes, who is still capable of dominating.
Seymour has spent the past four seasons with the Oakland Raiders. Despite some struggles with the Silver and Black, the 33-year-old remains a powerful force.
After years as a key playmaker in the New England Patriots 3-4 system, Seymour showcased his versatility in Oakland. He seamlessly transitioned to the Raiders' 4-3 fronts.
Seymour can still excel at both end and tackle. That should certainly appeal to a Falcons defensive front in need of more hybrid playmakers.
The NFC South champions cut ties with premier pass-rusher John Abraham this offseason. They were smart to move for ex-New York Giants sack master, Osi Umenyiora as his replacement.
He gives Atlanta's defense a versatile rusher on the edge to go with Kroy Biermann. The Falcons like to move Biermann around and rush him from a three-point stance, or a standing position.
Yet as flexible as they are on the outside, the Falcons lack the same level of scheme versatility along the interior. Starting tackles Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters remain on the roster.
However, neither are capable of providing a credible pass-rush. Atlanta's best pass-rushing tackle, Vance Walker, joined the Raiders in free agency.
The Falcons need a player who can create consistent pressure on the inside of the pocket. Seymour has a great track record doing just that.
He has compiled 57.5 career sacks in his career. That is a good figure for a linemen who has spent most of his time operating along the interior.
What is more important than actual numbers, is the scheme flexibility Seymour offers the Falcons. While Atlanta primarily deploys a 4-3 defense, coordinator Mike Nolan has an extensive background running the 3-4.
He likes to use that experience to mix his fronts. Nolan will show hybrid looks and try to scheme pressure from different alignments.
He will be able to take advantage of Seymour's ability to act as the focal point of three and four-man lines. He could deploy Seymour at end or tackle, and match the veteran against weaknesses in opposing blocking schemes.
Seymour gives Nolan a moving piece who can still create a variety of matchup problems for offenses. Having played his collegiate football at Georgia, Seymour would likely jump at the chance to go to Atlanta and finish a fine career with a genuine contender.
With a potent offense already in place, the Falcons have to mold a more destructive defense, if they hope to win a Super Bowl. Signing a stellar veteran like Seymour is a big step in the right direction.