FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff's thoughts on what remains ahead in the draft and free agency as well as the rising price for the Carolina Panthers.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
*AJC: *Dimitroff confident Falcons can fill holes in draft, free agency
The Falcons have one of the NFL's more complete rosters – as evidenced by their back-to-back trips to the playoffs – but they entered this offseason with a few positions to address. Thus far, Atlanta has added guard Brandon Fusco and tight end Logan Paulsen in free agency, moves that bolster two such positions.
Speaking at Georgia's pro day Wednesday, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff expressed confidence that the team would be able to address the other areas on the roster through the draft and the remaining free agency period – whether it be prior to the draft or afterwards.
"Our focus is going to be hopefully to develop through trying to make sure we get the young talent through the draft," Dimitroff said. "That's our main acquisition focus. If we can find someone – a piece here and there – in free agency, it's important because it allows us to be that much more fluid in the draft. That's how we've always approached it.
"We never set out this year to think that we had a massive hole in any part of this roster that we thought we needed to go out and pay top dollar for."
Jeff Schultz of *The Atlanta Journal-Constitution *noted in a piece after pro day how the Falcons have been among the very best teams in the league at drafting impactful players in the draft over the past three seasons, highlighting picks such as Takkarist McKinley, Deion Jones and Grady Jarrett, among others.
Schultz also explains, however, that free agency allows a team to make a significant upgrade in some area of its roster, which the Falcons have done recently as well.
"But free agency can go a long way toward putting a team over the top," Schultz writes. "The Falcons are a prime example of this. Two years ago, they signed center Alex Mack and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. Both were instrumental in the team getting to the Super Bowl."
Here are more articles for Falcons fans:
BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
Bloomberg: Bidding for Panthers reaches $2.5 billion
According to a report from Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick, the bidding for the Carolina Panthers has reached $2.5 billion. Longtime owner Jerry Richardson announced he would put the Panthers up for sale last year after the NFL took control over an investigation into workplace harassment allegations.
Soshnick reports that the escalation in price has caused Fanatics executive chairman Michael Rubin to drop out of the bidding process.
With Rubin bowing out, Soshnik named three remaining bidders for the franchise: Alan Kestenbaum, CEO of the private equity firm Bedrock Industries LP; David Tepper, the founder of Appaloosa Management LP and a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers; and Ben Navarro, CEO of Sherman Financial Group.
Also named as having interest in acquiring the Panthers is local billionaire Jim Goodnight, the CEO of SAS Institute Inc, who is reported to have a net worth of $9.9 billion.
Here are some more articles from around the league:
- *Sports Illustrated: *NFL mock draft Vol. 3
- The Ringer: Will the Eagles really have one of the best D-lines ever?
- CBS Sports: Sam Darnold impresses at USC pro day