The Atlanta Falcons have yet to begin training camp, and they've already lost All-Pro linebacker Sean Weatherspoon to a season-ending torn Achilles.
It's all-too-familiar territory for the Falcons, who dealt with a multitude of injuries during their 2013 campaign, which they finished with one of the league's worst records.
Atlanta does have some recourse, as there are a handful of serviceable veterans available on the free-agent wire, including one former member of an NFC South rival. The Falcons may look into signing longtime New Orleans Saint Jonathan Vilma in an effort to replace Weatherspoon, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
A 10-year veteran, Vilma is coming off knee troubles that limited his 2013 season to just one game. The hope is that Vilma, who was allowed to walk this offseason after six years with the Saints, can return to the former glory that saw him elected to three Pro Bowls.
Rapoport suggests that Atlanta has also shown interest in Pat Angerer and Tim Dobbins in addition to Vilma, and the team may also opt to replace Weatherspoon with in-house options like Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow. The most likely hurdle for the Falcons will be the price of bringing in an accomplished, if hobbled, veteran. Vilma has apparently reached out to multiple teams this offseason and drawn mild interest at best.