According to Vance Walker’s twitter profile, he has signed a deal with the Oakland Raiders. The specifics of the deal are not yet known, but if I had to guess, I would say it’s a three or four year deal. The Raiders have lost multiple players from their DL including Richard Seymour and Desmond Bryant, so Walker will have a chance to come in and start for them at the DT position.
The Atlanta Falcons fan in me is disappointed to see Walker go. He really started playing well in 2012 and made a difference in the playoffs. After cutting Abraham, I thought the Falcons would try to resign Walker since he is a developing player and would come at a reasonable price. Now the Falcons have lost two good players on their line and the Raiders have added a very underrated player. Congratulations to Vance Walker on the contract and I can’t wait to see him playing next year in the black and silver!
Now that we are deep into the NFL offseason, let’s go back and take a look at the Tech players who performed the best on the field last season. I believe the most informative and exciting way to do this is to make a Top 10 list, counting down from 10 to 1. I’ll post one player a day for the next ten weekdays, so make sure to keep up and share your opinions by commenting below. The first player we are going to talk about and the number ten player on this list is Vance Walker, a defensive tackle for the Atlanta Falcons.
Last season was Walker’s fourth with the Falcons after being drafted by them in the 7th round of the NFL Draft. Each year he has received more playing time, but last year was when he really took advantage of it. During the regular season he recorded 32 tackles, 3 sacks, and a forced fumble and showed the ability to generate pressure up the middle. He flashed again in the playoffs when he had a big sack on Russell Wilson, which came in the second half of the close game. Walker has really benefitted from excellent coaching and being in a successful DT rotation.
Walker has shown big improvement over the last two years so I highly doubt this was just a contract year performance. He will rise on this list next year if he can continue to consistently generate a pass rush and take over a starting spot for the Falcons*. Another year of consistency is all that separates him from becoming a very good DT in the NFL.
*Vance Walker is an unrestricted FA, but I expect the Falcons to resign him.
The NFL Free Agency period begins at 4 P.M. on March 12th and there are quite a few former Georgia Tech players looking for a job. As we get closer to the beginning of FA, I’ll write a few posts about certain Tech players and where they should end up. For now, Michael Johnson is the only player who knows where he’ll be next year. He was franchise tagged by the Bengals, ensuring he will be with them for at least one more year. Here’s the rest of the free agents this year.
UFA (Unrestricted Free Agent)- Player is allowed to sign with whatever team he would like at the start of the FA period.
RFA (Restricted Free Agent)- The player’s old team places a qualifying offer on them and the player is allowed to talk to other teams. If the player signs a deal with another team, his original team is allowed to match the offer. If they choose not to match it, they will receive draft pick compensation in the round the RFA was designated in. This is somewhat confusing and it makes it pretty hard for RFA to sign with a different team because most teams don’t want to give up draft picks for players.
Exclusive Rights Free Agent- These FAs have two years of NFL experience but are not currently on a roster. If their former club offers them a three years veteran’s minimum contract, then they must take it or else not play in the NFL.
Tashard Choice- UFA
Jonathan Dwyer- RFA
Anthony Allen- Exclusive Rights
Will Heller- UFA
Andrew Gardner- RFA
Michael Johnson- Franchise Tagged
Vance Walker- UFA
Keith Brooking- UFA
Daryl Smith- UFA
Philip Wheeler- UFA
Gary Guyton- UFA
Free Agent info was acquired from footballfutures.com