FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes analysis on the Falcons' recent reunion with defensive end Derrick Shelby as well as the Buccaneers adding another pass rusher.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
ESPN: DE Derrick Shelby brings depth
The Falcons continued to make moves in free agency on Thursday, reuniting with defensive end Derrick Shelby on a one-year contract. The veteran defender spent the past two seasons in Atlanta before being released by the club prior to the start of free agency.
Shelby provides depth for the defensive line, something the Falcons need, but he is also a capable run defender and has experience with this team and coaching staff. Following the move, ESPN's Vaughn McClure provided some analysis and graded the signing as a "C."
"Shelby is more of a run-stopper who will beat up on tight ends while playing the six technique (aligned between the tackle and tight end)," McClure writes. "He doesn't really have the size to be effective inside, although the Falcons tried him out as a three-technique (outside shoulder of guard). But again, this is more of a depth signing. Shelby averaged 23.4 snaps per game last season while starting 14 contests and had 30 tackles with one sack."
Outside of bringing Shelby back, the Falcons have also acquired tight end Logan Paulsen and guard Brandon Fusco to address another pair of needs.
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BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
NFL.com: Giants trade Jason Pierre-Paul to Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have made a concerted attempt to retool its defensive line this offseason, and that effort continued on Thursday as Tampa Bay traded with the New York Giants for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants sent Pierre-Paul and a 2018 fourth-round pick to the Buccaneers in exchange for a 2018 third-round and fourth-round pick.
Since Dave Gettleman took over as the new general manager in New York, the Giants have been undergoing a transformation. This trade is just the latest in a string of moves that have been made by the Giants to help transition to their new 3-4 defense.
For the Buccaneers, Pierre-Paul provides the team with another new pass rusher to work with. So far this offseason, Tampa Bay has acquired defensive end Vinny Curry and defensive tackle Beau Allen to improve its defensive line.
"Jason is an elite-level edge rusher who will make an immediate impact on our defense," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement released by the team. "We are adding a two-time Pro Bowler who is passionate about the game and has established himself as one of the league's premier defensive ends. Jason is an incredibly hard-working playmaker on the defensive front with a unique skill set that allows him to stay on the field in both rushing and passing situations."
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