Falcons to sign linebackers Brooks Reed, Justin Durant; Morgan to visit

"He's on his way to the ATL to sign," Zuckerman said.

The Falcons are also set to sign former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Justin Durant, running back Antone Smith and guard Mike Person.

Former Georgia Tech star Derrick Morgan, who played with Tennessee for the past five seasons, is coming in for a visit with the Falcons, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.

The Atlanta Falcons were considered the “front runners” to land Reed, formerly of the Houston Texans. The process was later described as a three-team race.

“He likes their defense,” said Zuckerman on Monday. "He can play all of their linebacker positions and they like his pass-rushing ability.”

Reed was selected in the second-round of the 2011 draft (42nd overall) by the Houston Texans out of Arizona.

The signing of Reed would soften the blow of apparently losing linebacker Sean Weatherspoon to the Arizona Cardinals.

Players could not sign with teams until 4 p.m. on Tuesday at the start of the league's new business year. The league's open negotiating period opened on Saturday.

Reed, 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, is durable. He has started 52 of 60 games over his career and has played in 16 games in three of the four seasons. Weatherspoon, who slated to sign a one-year, $4 million deal, has been oft-injured and has just played in seven games over the past two seasons.

Last season for the Texans, Reed, 28, had 41 combined tackles, three sacks and one interception in 16  games (13 starts). He had six sacks during his rookie season but hasn’t had more than three in a season since.

The Falcons believe that Reed’s numbers can improve dramatically like Connor Barwin, another former Texan. He left for Philadelphia after the 2012 season and had five sacks in 2013 and 14.5 last season for the Eagles.

The New York Jets, Chicago, Arizona and Oakland are also interested in Reed.

Durant, 29, has played with Jacksonville, Detroit and Dallas. He was a second-round pick out of Hampton in 2007.

Durant suffered a torn bicep and only played in six games for the Cowboys. He had surgery to repair the tear.

He was leading the Cowboys in tackles with 61 at the time of his injury. He also had two forced fumbles, four tackles for a loss and an interception.

He has missed 16 games over the past two seasons, which both ended on injured reserve.

Former NFL executive Bill Polian gives Morgan a “C” grade in this free-agent class.

The former Georgia Tech standout was drafted 16th overall in 2011 by the Titans.

Morgan, 26, has amassed 23 sacks over five seasons. He’s had at least six sacks in each of the pass three seasons. At 6-3, 296 pounds, he has the size that Quinn likes.

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.