FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes five moves the Falcons should make this offseason as well as a new home for former Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
ESPN: Five moves each NFC South team should make this offseason
The offseason is now upon us, and each team around the league is looking to improve in hopes of making a run to the Super Bowl in 2018. The Falcons, while they appear to have a strong foundation in place already, are no different.
In previewing the offseason for ESPN, Bill Barnwell shared five moves each team around the NFC South should make. For Atlanta, Barnwell starts by saying the Falcons should pick up the fifth-year option for Vic Beasley for the 2019 season. Although that is still a ways away, the coaching staff plans to use him at defensive end moving forward, instead of in the linebacker role he was asked to play more of last season. By picking up his option for 2019, Barnwell says Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff will have more time to evaluate Beasley's best role and how that may affect a contract decision.
The second item on Barnwell's list is arguably the first on the Falcons': Get Matt Ryan signed to a contract extension. The Falcons have not been shy is saying a new deal for the former league MVP is the top priority, and it will help shape how the rest of the offseason goes. Next, Barnwell believes the Falcons should try to extend left tackle Jake Matthews and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett.
Matthews is entering the final year of his rookie contract, after the Falcons picked up his fifth-year option for this season, and he has proven to be a starter-caliber left tackle in the NFL. As fifth-round draft pick in 2015, Jarrett is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He looks to be one of the top young defensive tackles in the league, and is certainly a player who can make an impact.
Finally, Barnwell says the Falcons should seek to add help for Jarrett at the defensive tackle position in the draft.
*Orlando Sentinel: *Allen hosting free football clinic in Daytona Beach
With the offseason in full swing, NFL players are free to rest, relax and pursue other activities in which they are passionate. For veteran safety Ricardo Allen, that's helping kids in his hometown develop the same love he harbors for the game of football.
Per a report by J.C. Carnahan of the *Orlando Sentinel, *Allen will host a free football clinic for teens in Daytona Beach on Feb. 24. The event will take place at Daytona Beach Mainland High School, the school Allen attended, and is designed for all offensive, defensive and special teams position players who are currently in grades 8-12.
Here are more articles for Falcons fans:
*USA TODAY: *Falcons LB Campbell gets a new agent
CBS Sports: Top defensive tackles hitting free agency
BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
NFL.com: Mike Shula to be Giants' new offensive coordinator
Former Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula is expected to be officially announced as the Giants' new offensive coordinator, according to a report from NFL Network's Kimberly Jones. Mentioned in the same report, written by NFL.com's Kevin Patra, is was revealed that sources told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that Shula will coach quarterbacks with the Giants while new head coach Pat Shurmer handles the play-calling duties.
In his five seasons with the Panthers, Shula's offenses were relatively inconsistent year-to-year, which may have had something to do with Cam Newton at quarterback. The Panthers often boasted a strong running game, led by Newton and running back Jonathan Stewart, but couldn't consistently muster much of a passing attack.
In New York, the Giants have one of the top wide receivers in the league in Odell Beckham Jr., but an aging quarterback in Eli Manning and no star at the running back position.
Here are some more articles from around the league:
CBS Sports: 2018 mock draft – Falcons snag a DT
The Ringer: Top 10 teams with free-agency question marks
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