FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today’s Early Bird Report includes the Arizona Cardinals signing two former Falcons and a bold offseason prediction for Atlanta.
Atlanta parted way with three players last week – Robert Alford, Matt Bryant and Brooks Reed – and two of the former Falcons will reunite in Arizona.
Alford agreed to a three-year contract with the Cardinals on Thursday, and Reed signed a one-year deal with Arizona over the weekend, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:
AJC: Five things to know about the Falcons after roster cuts
Following the moves last week, some fans may be wondering what is next on the team’s agenda. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter provided five notes on where the Falcons now stand after last week’s roster cuts and what could be coming next.
“In the past, general manager Thomas Dimitroff has identified the cap casualties and then moved on to re-negotiating existing contracts,” Ledbetter writes. “Candidates for re-negotiation are most notably right tackle Ryan Schraeder and defensive end Vic Beasley.”
To read the other four things Ledbetter covers, click here.
ESPN: Bold offseason moves for all 32 teams
The Falcons have a number of decisions to make this offseason, which has already been plenty busy for Atlanta. Right near the top of the team’s to-do list is an extension for receiver Julio Jones. ESPN’s Vaughn McClure believes the team will make Jones the highest-paid receiver in the league this offseason.
“GM Thomas Dimitroff already said Jones' contract would be addressed with two years and $26.4 million remaining. Jones' current average of $14.25 million ranks 11th among receivers, with Odell Beckham Jr. topping the list at $18 million per year,” McClure writes.
To see the bold offseason predictions for the league’s other teams, click here.
AJC: Blank counting on co-team builders to lead a turnaround
Falcons owner Arthur Blank still has plenty of faith in the men he’s tasked to lead the football team, and he’s counting on general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn to get things heading in the right direction in Atlanta. But Blank explained in an interview with D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they aren’t linked together in terms of success or failure.
“They have that much respect for each other,” Blank said. “They are connected at the hip only in terms of their charge to make the team better and roster better and our team to perform better. But beyond that, they are not connected. They have different jobs and different responsibilities. They are not a twin by any means.”
To read the rest of Blank’s interview, click here.
ESPN: Matt Ryan: Winning a Super Bowl ‘motivates me to get out of bed’
Matt Ryan has come very close to winning a Super Bowl, and he’s motivated every day to achieving that goal. In a recent interview with ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, Ryan explained why he’s focused on winning a Super Bowl now more than ever.
"It's the No. 1 goal for me," Ryan said. "It's the ultimate and what motivates me to get out of bed every morning and to try and put in the work as hard as I can, to bring a championship to this city and to our organization. That's what it's all about."
Ryan explained to McClure that it really struck him for the first time during his rookie year that he could succeed in the NFL after the Falcons lost a close playoff game to the Arizona Cardinals, who went on to play in the Super Bowl. Ryan has come a long way since then, and he’s become one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
But it’s clear he won’t be satisfied until he achieves his main goal, earning that ring.
To read the rest of Ryan’s interview with McClure, click here.