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Early Bird Report 4/4: Arthur Blank says not to worry about Falcons' talks with Matt Ryan


(AP photo by John Bazemore)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes Falcons owner Arthur Blank's thoughts on Matt Ryan's contract negotiations as well as another big trade involving the Rams.



*AJC: *Arthur Blank: 'no need to worry' about Matt Ryan contract talks

The Falcons have maintained the same top priority since the offseason began: Sign quarterback Matt Ryan to a contract extension. Those conversations are still ongoing, but general manger Thomas Dimitroff has continued to relay confidence that they are progressing.

"We continue to have ongoing dialogue with Matt's representatives on a contract extension," Dimitroff said Tuesday after a radio appearance on 680 The Fan. "It remains our primary focus this offseason, and we continue to get closer every day. It can be a lengthy process as you work through a major deal like this, but all of our conversations are productive and continue to move the process forward."

In an email to Jeff Schultz of *The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, *Falcons owner Arthur Blank echoed Dimitroff's words, saying fans shouldn't be worried about a deal getting done.

"The most direct and honest answer is: no need to worry, good conversations are happening, they are positive and there's no timetable for this," Blank wrote to Schultz.

While both Blank and Dimitroff remain optimistic about a deal getting done, they have refrained from putting a timetable on the negotiations.

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BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL Rams acquire Brandin Cooks in trade with Patriots

The Rams continue to stockpile a new arsenal of talent, as they announced via their official website Tuesday that they had acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks in a trade with the Patriots.

In the trade, the Rams received Cooks and a fourth-round pick from the Patriots while sending their first-round pick in this year's draft (No. 23 overall) and a sixth-round pick to New England. This is just the latest big-ticket offseason acquisition for the Rams, who also acquired players such as Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and, most recently, Ndamukong Suh.

The Rams' offense took a massive leap forward in its first season under new head coach Sean McVay, who helped second-year quarterback Jared Goff advance in his development and Todd Gurley once again look like a top-flight NFL running back. Now, as's Nick Shook writes, the offense has a dynamic receiver in the fold.

"Cooks is perhaps the best receiver to be traded twice over a young career that has shown plenty of promise and production so far," Shook writes. "The game-breaking wideout is one of only three players with 1,000-plus receiving yards and five-plus receiving touchdowns in each of the last three seasons. The other two: Antonio Brown and Larry Fitzgerald. 

"Cooks brings his top-end speed and big-play ability to a receiving corps that now features targets for every level of the field."

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