FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff's comments on Jake Matthews and Vic Beasley as well as Michael Bennett reportedly going on the trade block.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
ESPN: Dimitroff confident Matthews, Beasley will thrive
The Falcons aren't expected to make many splashy moves in free agency this offseason, but that doesn't mean they won't make significant decisions it's just that those decisions will likely involve their own players. Speaking at the NFL combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff discussed the desire to re-sign the players they've drafted and making moves with that goal in mind.
One player that Dimitroff mentioned specifically the team would like to retain is left tackle Jake Matthews, the sixth overall pick in 2014. ESPN's Vaughn McClure spoke with Dimitroff about Matthews and another top-10 pick, defensive end Vic Beasley, and their potential moving forward.
"Anytime you're drafted high, you have high expectations," Dimitroff told McClure. "I think both of them have produced well. And they can continue to produce more and better at times, of course. That's all part of us growing. I know Dan [Quinn], as a head coach, and our staff is really good at appropriately pressing those guys. They both know where their expectations are, and our expectations are for our pillar guys to thrive. And we believe that both will and are getting better and better all the time.
"There will always be, as we all know, dips within careers. And we're very confident that both of those guys are going to thrive as starters and worthy of the picks that we picked them."
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ESPN: Michael Bennett being shopped by Seahawks in trade talks
According to ESPN's Brady Henderson, the Seattle Seahawks are shopping defensive end Michael Bennett in trade talks. One of the most productive defensive ends in the NFL, Bennett finished second on the Seahawks with 8.5 sacks last season.
Per Henderson, Bennett has three seasons remaining on his current contract and is slated to receive $1.65 million, $6 million and $7.5 million in base salaries during those seasons. Given Bennett's connection with Dan Quinn, the Seahawks' former defensive coordinator, it's likely that this news will result in some naming the Falcons a likely suitor.
While that connection is there, and the Falcons could end up in the mix for Bennett, there has been no comment from the team. Furthermore, the Falcons have shown a commitment towards building up their defense through the draft.
Here are some more articles from around the league:
*Sports Illustrated: *What we learned at the combine Thursday
CBS Sports: OBJ wants $20 million per year
The Ringer: Who has the most to gain at the combine?