FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes a grade for the moves the Falcons made in free agency as well as some NFL players' thoughts on the Giants possibly looking to trade OBJ.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
ESPN: Grading the Falcons in free agency
The Falcons were unlikely to be among the major players in free agency this offseason. They have a strong core of players who were drafted by the franchise on the roster, and they believe strongly in developing players who they are familiar with rather than relying on massive outside acquisitions.
Now that the majority of the initial wave of free agency has finished and teams have turned their attentions towards the draft, we have a clear picture of what each club did to address their needs. ESPN's Vaughn McClure assessed the Falcons' three moves in free agency – the signings of guard Brandon Fusco, tight end Logan Paulsen and cornerback Justin Bethel – and awarded the team a "C" grade.
"They were able to fill some needs by signing a guard, a blocking tight end and a special-teams demon," McClure said, while also mentioning the team's cap-space limitations. "Those moves didn't exactly put Atlanta over the top, but general manager Thomas Dimitroff firmly believes there were no major holes to fill for a team just two years removed from the Super Bowl. We'll see."
McClure says the team's most significant signing was three-time Pro Bowler Justin Bethel, who is a strong addition to the Falcons' special teams units. Although Bethel can also add depth in the secondary, the cornerback was named to three Pro Bowls for his work on special teams and may provide the spark the Falcons have missed since Eric Weems' departure.
Here are more articles for Falcons fans:
BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
NFL.com: A.J. Green says Giants not 'crazy' enough to trade Beckham
Over the past week, the developing story regarding Odell Beckham Jr.'s future has surged to the forefront of NFL discussion. One of the premier talents in the league, Beckham has commanded top dollar for a contract extension, leading the Giants to consider shopping their prized receiver in a potential trade deal.
Speculation that the Giants are seeking two first-round picks for Beckham has surfaced, but that is a very heft price tag. Speaking at Huncho Day, a celebrity flag football game hosted by rapper Quavo, Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was asked about his thoughts on the rumors that the Giants may shop Beckham.
"That's stupid. That's stupid, man," Green told NFL Network. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime, or once-in-a-generation talent, man, and you've got to be ready. I think he'll get paid. They not that crazy."
Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant was also in attendance at the flag football game Sunday, and he believes the Giants will ultimately end up showing Beckham the money.
"He's a great player," Bryant said. "He just wants his money. He wants his money and what he's worth. I hope he gets it. I know he's going to get it. It just takes time."
Here are some more articles from around the league:
- *Sports Illustrated: *On draft QBs, trade rumors and a new rule
- CBS Sports: Ex-NFL VP of refs describes problem with targeting rule