Earlier in the day on Tuesday, the Atlanta Falcons chose to “improve from within” by signing long-time defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, and in the midst of other rumors, the team is reportedly negotiating with another in-house contributor. This time, though, it is along the offensive line with center Joe Hawley.
#Falcons are trying to lock up C Joe Hawley, but there’s interest out there for him. May go right up to 4 pm.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 11, 2014
Adam Caplan reports that the team is in negotiations with the 25-year-old Hawley to keep him in Atlanta long-term, and while it may seem like a “fringe” move, it could be important to Atlanta’s ability to build their offensive line. The 6-foot-3, 297-pound Hawley has been a versatile cog for the Falcons, playing at both center and guard over the past four seasons, and while he was simply a backup option earlier in his career, Hawley made 7 starts this season after supplanting incumbent Peter Konz.
Hawley’s value on the open market is up for debate, but the Falcons know that they have (at the very least) a solid utility man who knows their offensive system, and that is an undervalued commodity at times. Look for Hawley to remain in Atlanta on a modest deal, but one that includes a solid raise for the young center.