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Found 3 results

  1. Not sure if this been posted yet. We get an idea of the team’s mindset with all of this here. By Cory Woodroof@CoryWoodroof47 Jun 18, 2018, 11:25am EDT SHARE Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports The Falcons and Julio Jones contract extension saga has been the story of the offseason, and now we have a prognostication and some context for the ordeal from someone with a close ear to the ground. Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution spoke with Charlotte’s ESPN 730AM The Game and gave his take on where the thinks this situation will wind up. “Yes, I do [expect a deal to get done],” Ledbetter said on the show. “I think he’ll be in camp on time, and they’ll work their differences out. Nothing major, but it’s major enough to keep him away from camp. The markets for wide receivers went up over the offseason, and [it] looks like Julio wants an adjustment to his contract.” Ledbetter paints a less-rosy picture for the relationship between Jones and the team at the moment of this contract conversation. “It’s in a bad place right now,” Ledbetter added. “Coach was expecting him in here. He told us that at the owners meeting when I talked to him down there in Orlando, and then, a few weeks later, Julio informed that he’s not going to be here.” He also alludes to the T.O. element to this holdout as being something that might drive a rift between Jones and the Falcons. “The fact that he’s running around with Terrell Owens has the front office uneasy. The fact that he’s held out and is kind of bucking the whole Brotherhood thing has them a little bit uneasy, too. So, they’ll have to mend some fences, no question about it, once he returns.” Though, Ledbetter says Jones “still means the world to this team,” and that the drafting of Calvin Ridley was not done to be a replacement for Jones down the road. He notes that Ridley is firmly supposed to replace what Taylor Gabriel brought to the offense. To hear all at once that D-Led expects this to get resolved before camp and that the team and Julio aren’t in a great place right now is, admittedly, a lot to take in. On one side, level minds have felt for some time that the Falcons would get this settled before things got dire with Julio, and that they understand he’s worthy of this kind of raise. But, this might also be true: the Falcons might resent this a bit in terms of having to reopen how they negotiate extensions, and might be worried this will set a bad precedent for future contracts. Thomas Dimitroff hinted to as much in an interview with Andrew Brandt last month, where he cited Jones specifically. “We had talked about how we were going to approach it. We normally have not done guys, Julio included, until that last year. We’re not big on doing the three years, two years, normally, we’ve been a year out, and it’s been that way with our main guys, so it sends a message to even guys who are more midline players who are looking for a contract, like, look, if Matt and Julio, and a couple of other guys, even Roddy White during those times, have done it this way, it sets a tone of consistency. And, I think, that’s been good for us.” So, between Jones wanting to get an exemption for typical team policy, and with him missing camp, hanging out with T.O. and not adhering minute-by-minute to the “Brotherhood” mentality, Quinn and Dimitroff sound be a bit irked with the Jet at the moment, though they won’t show that hand all the way publicly. To say the relationship isn’t great now doesn’t mean it won’t be once Jones starts putting in the work at training camp, as Ledbetter speculates he will. If they’re able to work out a contract then, this will likely be water under the bridge by the season. If something happens and the team holds their ground, and Julio calls their bluff, make no mistake: this has a high probability of carrying over into training camp. If it does, Jones will be far from the first player in NFL history to hold out when camp starts, but it will be less than ideal for a Falcons team that’s trying to get its offense back to elite status. A player missing June reps is something you can deal with. We saw what happened last season when Julio missed key training camp reps. But, we’re dealing with a host of professionals who, even at a tiff, will still have the wherewithal to deal with this in a proper way and find an agreement that benefits all parties. D-Led seems to think it’ll get done, so let’s hope that foresight follows through before this holdout begins to really manifest some tough results.
  2. Ledbetter...I know I know...but connecting the dots, it does make sense. Matt Ryan is, whether you care to admit it or not, one of the better quarterbacks working in the NFL today. He has been throughout his career, as well, which is why his upcoming contract extension with the Falcons is likely to boast some eye-popping numbers on the surface. D. Orlando Ledbetter teed up what looks like a bit more than an educated guess on Ryan’s next deal, and it would at least briefly put him among the three highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. Considering Kirk Cousins of all people currently looks like he’ll boast that distinction—with fully guaranteed money—it’s not surprising that Ryan’s numbers look huge at first glance. Let’s start with a customary disclaimer: The Falcons are not going to ship Ryan out, let him walk, or play extrem hardball with him. Ryan is not going to take a “team-friendly” deal that sees him clock in well under market value. This is a deal that barring a complete meltdown on either side is going to get done, and it’s really just a question of when, how and structure. Ryan’s last deal ensured he’d have a cap hit of $23.75 million in 2017 and 2018, but it’s worth remembering that his hits in the first three years of the deal (2013, 2014, and 2015) were a tiny $9.6 million, and then a manageable $17.5 million and $19.5 million. That deal total $103.75 million, or just over $20 million per year, but the quarterback landscape and cap picture has changed so much in the last five seasons that $30 million no longer carries a ton of sticker shock. The six years would appear to be a way for the Falcons to ensure Ryan spends his entire career in Atlanta, assuming he’s healthy and effective enough to do so. A key for any Ryan deal is smaller cap hits up front, a structure that helps defray costs over time, and less guaranteed money at the back end of the deal, when Ryan will be 37, 38, or even 39 years old, with a completely likely decline in performance in the cards. The Falcons will need to carve out some cap space to make the kind of savvy moves they’ve customarily been able to pull off in the spring and summer, and they’ll definitely need that space next year when they have to start extending some of their best young players. Ideally, then, this deal would give Ryan plenty of money over its life and look shiny and glittery on its face, but would also give the Falcons an escape hatch over the last couple of years if he can no longer perform at his customary Matty Ice level. The Falcons have shown an ability to smartly structure contracts in the past, and they’ll have to do an even better job of it with extensions like Ryan’s if they’re going to remain relevant in the coming seasons. Let’s hope this deal gets done sooner than later so the Falcons can be players in free agency, if they wish to be.
  3. Falcons fans waiting for a big splash in free agency can go ahead and fill out their March Madness brackets. Sit back and enjoy NCAA tournament basketball while the rest of the NFL is throwing cash at players. The Falcons, who are happy with their roster and will focus on getting better through the draft, have reviewed the free agency class. They have elected not to clear more salary cap space to overpay for available free agents. The league’s legal-tampering period started at noon on Monday as teams are allowed to deal with prospective players before the start of the official league year at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. The Falcons are hoping to sign quarterback Matt Ryan to a contract extension that will likely be six years and in the $180-190 million range. “Matt Ryan’s situation has some role in dictating where we are and how creative we are and how we can re-sign some of our other players in free agency,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “Anytime that you’re signing a top-tier quarterback, you’re going to be face with complications. That’s just the way it is.” The Falcons re-signed cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson to a contract extension on Saturday and placed $2.9 million second-round tenders on restricted free agents free safety Ricardo Allen and offensive guard Ben Garland on Monday. The Falcons have $11.5 million under their $178.3 million. When you consider that they must have $5.6 million for the rookie draft pool and they likely will leave about $2 million for in-season emergencies, the Falcons’ real cap number is just under $4 million. The team picks up another $3.5 million after tight end Levine Toilolo’s post-June 1 designation is applied. So, basically, there’s room for a low budget fullback and a tight end. If the Falcons were pressed to sign any of the big-name free agents, they could clear space by moving Ryan’s deal along. Ryan’s cap number could be lowered from $21.6 million to between $9 million and $12 million depending on the structure of the deal. Last season, Allen had 54 tackles (38 solo) with one interception, one tackle for loss, and one pass defense while starting 15 games at safety. Allen along with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, are candidates for long-term extensions that are normally done in-season in October or November under Dimitroff. Allen has played in 47 games with 46 starts. He’s emerged as a leader of the defense. Garland, who also has played some defensive tackle, has seen action in 32 games with the Falcons since being signed by the team in 2015. Last season, he started in three games at guard, making his first career start in a Week 14 win over New Orleans. Here’s a look at the Falcons’ free agents: Unrestricted: — Matt Bryant re-signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal. The Falcons have options to pick up the contract in 2019 and 2020. — Defensive end Adrian Clayborn led the team in sacks with 10.5 (including the playoffs). He played 576 snaps, the third-highest total along the defensive line. — Fullback Derrick Coleman played 268 snaps on special teams and led the team in special teams tackles with 15. — Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel didn’t provide the same explosive plays and will not be re-signed. — Linebacker/safety Kemal Ishmael played 336 snaps on special teams and has value a reserve. He will test the market to see if someone thinks he’s more than a reserve. — Running back Leon McFadden was a late-season add to provide depth. — Offensive tackle Austin Pasztor was the backup swing tackle who was active for eight games. — Defensive tackle Dontari Poe is headed for free agency where he’s expected to land a “lucrative deal,” according to Dimitroff. He played 868 defensive snaps, the second highest on the team behind Jarrett’s 870. He also played eight snaps on offense. — Returner Andre Roberts was plagued by poor blocking. He’s expecting to become a free agent. — Defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin provided quality depth as a run-stuffer. — Linebacker Jordan Tripp considered a solid special-teamer when healthy. — Defensive tackle Courtney Upshaw plays the run well for a former linebacker. — Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was insurance last season for the young and inexperienced unit. He wants to continue playing. — Wide receiver Nick Williams will likely end up in San Francisco. Quinn mention Marvin Hall and Reggie Davis as potential replacement for the Gabriel and Williams. — Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson has re-signed with the team. Restricted: — Allen received a second-round tender that is worth $2.9 million. — Garland received a second-round tender that is worth $2.9 million. Team can keep him and continue to look to upgrade the guard position. — Running back Terron Ward is a valuable reserve that the team has confidence in. — Running back Terrence Magee provided additional insurance as the backs got injured over the course of the season. Zeke Sandhu, his agent, told the AJC he’s returning. Exclusive-rights: — Safety Sharrod Neasman played 184 special teams snaps as a valuable reserve. — Offensive lineman Jamil Douglas has potential at the interior positions.