FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes a strong message from Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff about Tevin Coleman's future as well as a potential frontrunner for Kirk Cousins.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
ESPN: Falcons are 'not considering trading' RB Tevin Coleman
The Falcons have boasted one of the league's best running back combinations in recent seasons with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, but the wide-spread belief is that it will be financially difficult to keep both players moving forward. When Atlanta signed Freeman to a five-year contract extension prior to the 2017 season, many viewed it as a sign that the team had decided to make him their future at the position.
With one year left on Coleman's rookie deal, speculation has begun that the Falcons may look to deal him to another team and get something in return rather than getting nothing if he leaves in free agency. General manager Thomas Dimitroff squashed those rumors on Monday during a radio interview with 92.9 The Game's Rick Kamla and John Michaels.
"We are not considering trading Tevin Coleman, period,'' Dimitroff said. "He's an important part of this organization. And our focus is on this upcoming year, and trade is not in our thought process.''
Coleman is certainly a home-run hitter out of the backfield for the Falcons, and he has become a legitimate threat in the passing game as well, something that makes him especially effective in today's NFL. In a piece for ESPN about Dimitroff's comments, Vaughn McClure reached out to one "high-ranking AFC decision-maker," who said Coleman has great trade value.
"Great complement to a starter, and he could fill the role as a starting running back,'' the decision-maker said. "Great speed and athleticism. Only knock is that he hasn't been the featured runner there, but can't discount his ability to score the football.''
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NFL.com: Vikings intend to make strong push for Kirk Cousins
The Courtship of Kirk Cousins should be one of the more entertaining spectacles at the start of free agency as several teams are rumored to be in the hunt. According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the Minnesota Vikings will be at the forefront of the mix.
"The Minnesota Vikings are going to be players for Kirk Cousins," Garafolo said on *Up to the Minute Live, *per NFL.com's Chris Wesseling. "I have been told that by numerous sources the whole way. I'm not saying they're going to land him. I do believe that they have a great pitch to make to him as far as look at our defense, look at our targets, look at everything we've got. You can come in here and compete right away.
"The money is going to be what the money is going to be, we've talked about upwards of $30 million per season because you rarely see a quarterback like this hit the open market. But the Minnesota Vikings are going to make a strong push for Kirk Cousins, you can absolutely bet."
Despite having plenty of options at the position last season with Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater in the fold, Cousins is reportedly drawing much of their attention. Those reports only gained more steam after news surfaced that the Vikings were unlikely to use their franchise tag on Keenum, allowing him to hit free agency.
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