The Atlanta Falcons need to continue to bolster the defensive line, which is why general manager Thomas Dimitroff confirmed speaking with the representatives for top free-agent nose tackle Dontari Poe. And now the Falcons will have Poe in for a visit on Tuesday, according to a team official.
Poe was in Indianapolis to visit the Colts over the weekend, a meeting one figured would end in a contract. New Colts GM Chris Ballard previously was in Kansas City with Poe, so there's familiarity. But Poe left town without signing despite a meeting that "went well" according to ESPN's Josina Anderson.
Then Poe headed to Jacksonville, where the Jaguars have more than $55 million in cap space even with the $10.5 million 2017 cap number carried by newcomer Calais Campbell, who signed a four-year, $60 million deal. Poe could cash in, too, even if on a one-year deal. But he didn't immediately sign with the Jaguars.
The latest numbers have the Falcons with about $14 million in cap space, and that's without the contracts signed by safety Kemal Ishmael (one-year, $2.5 million) and wide receiver Andre Roberts (one-year, $1.8 million). So the Falcons probably wouldn't get into a bidding war for Poe.
But they do see his value.
"He's obviously had some very good seasons in the past," Dimitroff said of Poe, via 92.9's Knox Bardeen. "We believe he, obviously, still has the ability to contribute to a team like us."
ESPN's Ed Werder previously reported that some teams have concerns about the 6-foot-3, 346-pound Poe having back issues. We'll see if that comes into play.
One NFC defensive coach had this to say about what Poe brings, if healthy:
"Athleticism is off the charts for a man his size. Tremendous combination of power and short-area quickness. Underrated one-on-one pass-rusher, in part, due to the 2-gap defensive system that he's been a part of so far. He's capable of being more of a factor rushing the QB or being a consistent contributor as part of a four-man rush."
Poe compiled 13 sacks in five seasons with the Chiefs. He also had 156 tackles, two forced fumbles, and that famous jump pass for a touchdown against Denver.
The Falcons are in the process of rebuilding the defensive front after cutting veteran defensive tackle Tyson Jackson and not re-signing defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux. The Falcons signed former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jack Crawford to a three-year contract, and Dimitroff told 92.9 that Crawford will play outside in the base defense but can move inside to defensive tackle.
The Falcons return NFL sacks leader Vic Beasley Jr. along with interior rusher Grady Jarrett, who tied a Super Bowl record with three sacks against the New England Patriots. Defensive linemen Adrian Clayborn (biceps) and Derrick Shelby (Achilles) are returning from season-ending injuries. And the Falcons re-signed versatile Courtney Upshaw to a one-year contract. But the Falcons can't have enough bodies up front and need another edge-rusher to pair with Beasley, as well as another interior guy with power and rush ability. An improved Ra'Shede Hageman also is part of the defensive line mix.