Did the Falcons snub Keith Brooking?

So I’m watching ESPN News the other day and this scrolls at the bottom of the screen: Falcons sign LB Mike Peterson.

Not a bad move.

Considering they lost Keith Brooking and Michael Boley to other teams in free agency, the Falcons were in desperate need of linebackers and Peterson is familiar with head coach Mike Smith and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder from their days in Jacksonville. Plus, Peterson surely came cheaper than Brooking, which was part of the reason Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff allowed him to walk when he became a free agent last week. (Brooking wanted to re-sign with Atlanta, but eventually signed a three-year, $6 million contract with the Cowboys when it was clear the Falcons wanted to go in another direction.)

Then I read the details of Peterson’s contract: Two years, $6.5 million.

So the Falcons didn’t want Brooking back because he’s a 33-year old linebacker with deteriorating skills and is weak in coverage. Yet they signed Peterson (for more money mind you), who is a 32-year old linebacker with deteriorating skills, is weak in coverage and was suspended one game for pissing off his head coach (Jack Del Rio) last season?

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Cowboys sign LB Keith Brooking

Keith BrookingAccording to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Cowboys have agreed to a three-year deal with linebacker Keith Brooking, who will play inside in Dallas’s 3-4 defense.

Before this signing, Brooking had played his entire football career in the state of Georgia. He went to high school in the state, then went on to Georgia Tech before being drafted by the Falcons in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft.

Brooking has experience in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense, so this signing makes sense on the surface. But he has clearly lost a step over the past three years and for being such an intense player, he’s not that physical. He doesn’t meet blockers head on, instead choosing to use his speed to get around linemen and make tackles on the run.

This certainly wasn’t a bad signing for Dallas because Brooking does have experience in this defense, is an outstanding leader and will do absolutely anything for the good of the team. He truly is one of the most professional players in the league and he did everything and anything the Falcons asked him to, including switching positions multiple times because of injuries to other players. He was also the last remaining player of the Falcons’ 1998 Super Bowl team.

But at this point in his career, Brooking probably won’t be much better than Zach Thomas was last year for the Cowboys. It’s highly doubtful he sees the final year of his three-year contract.

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