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Walter Thurmond III could be Falcons' key Seahawks FA target

It's no secret the Atlanta Falcons are likely to target at least a couple of players familiar with Dan Quinn and the Seattle Seahawks' defensive scheme.

The first guy mentioned when free-agent rumors started circulating was Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell, who is bound for free agency after 12 starts under Quinn, then the Seahawks defensive coordinator, last season. However, Maxwell is likely to draw plenty of interest, particularly from the cornerback-needy Philadelphia Eagles.

Although the Falcons currently have around $30 million in cap space, they probably would have to overspend for Maxwell. They might be better off calling an audible.

There is another former Seahawks defensive back who makes plenty of sense for the Falcons. Walter Thurmond III, currently still under contract with the New York Giants, is not expected to re-sign with the team -- according to multiple sources -- and will hit the open market next week. Thurmond, who turns 28 in August, played his first four NFL seasons with the Seahawks, starting eight games.

He is not a big-splash name. And the 5-foot-11-inch, 190-pound Thurmond is coming off a season-ending pectoral injury. But Thurmond has played in Quinn's scheme and would be an upgrade at nickel back.

There have been injury concerns for Thurmond throughout his career, and he was suspended four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy. That said, Quinn seems like a positive coach who is willing to work with players who have had missteps, particularly if he is familiar with him. Thurmond signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Giants, so his price tag should be reasonable coming off an injury.

The Falcons need help in the secondary alongside Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, who is recovering from a broken wrist. The safety situation remains uncertain with William Moore coming off a separated shoulder, Dezmen Southward destined for a move to cornerback and former starting free safety Dwight Lowery looking like he won't be back. Kemal Ishmael and Charles Godfrey are the other primary safeties in the mix, and the Falcons are expected to target a taller safety in free agency.

That safety could be another former Seahawk: Ron Parker, currently with the Kansas City Chiefs. The 6-foot, 206-pound Parker had two stints in Seattle in 2011 and 2012 and started 15 games for the Chiefs this past season. He's got that cornerback/safety versatility Quinn is looking for in a defensive back, although Parker didn't cross paths with Quinn while in Seattle.

The other names associated with Quinn have been out there plenty. Seahawks defensive end O'Brien Scofield could give the Falcons much-needed depth at pass-rusher while his teammate, linebacker Malcolm Smith, is a Super Bowl MVP who is capable of coming in and playing middle linebacker for the Falcons.

One other notable name is Jeron Johnson, a tough safety who played his first four seasons in Seattle and is set to hit the open market, if not re-signed.