Early Bird Report: A look at the top remaining free agents

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today’s Early Bird Report includes Kevin Seifert’s list of the top 15 remaining free agents as well as Brian Poole’s new home.

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As is often the case, the first two days of NFL free agency were a frenzy. With many big names already off the market, there are still several notable players who could still help teams and might not break the bank.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert ranked his top 15 remaining NFL free agents on Friday, and it’s a group that includes a few positions the Falcons might still be looking at. Pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah and defensive tackle Tim Jernigan remain available, along with a number of intriguing defensive backs.

“Age and a long injury history will limit his value,” Seifert writes of Ansah. “Most recently, two shoulder injuries cost him nine games in 2018. But he had 48 sacks in six seasons with the Lions, and a team with a plan to use him situationally could receive big dividends.”

To see the rest of Seifert’s top remaining free agents, click here.

Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:

ESPN: Poole agrees to one-year deal with Jets

Thursday evening, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that former Falcons cornerback Brian Poole agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Jets. The deal is worth a reported $3.5 million, which is more than what Poole would have received if the Falcons had tendered him prior to free agency.

Poole is the second notable former Falcons player to sign with another team, as running back Tevin Coleman agreed on a two-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers.

ESPN: Carpenter adds toughness to the O-line

The Falcons made two notable moves at the start of free agency, agreeing to terms with right guard Jamon Brown and left guard James Carpenter. The moves solidify the interior of the offensive line, a priority spot for Atlanta this offseason.

But what was the national media reaction to the additions? Well, for one, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure believes the Falcons added toughness to the offensive line, especially with Carpenter.

“The 6-foot-5, 321-pound Carpenter has started 97 games for the Jets and Seattle Seahawks, so he should step right into a starting role at left guard,” McClure writes of Carpenter. “Coach Dan Quinn wasn't satisfied with what he's had lately at that spot between Wes Schweitzer and Andy Levitre. Quinn is familiar with Carpenter from his days in Seattle, where Quinn was the defensive coordinator and Carpenter started on the line for the Super Bowl champs.”

McClure appears also high on the addition of Brown, which should bring even more size to the Falcons’ offensive line.

To read more of McClure’s thoughts on the Falcons’ new offensive linemen, click here.

ESPN: 49ers to sign Coleman, boost RB depth

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, a source revealed that the San Fransisco 49ers have agreed with former Falcons running back Tevin Coleman on a two-year deal worth up to $10 million.

Coleman was drafted by the Falcons in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. During his four seasons in Atlanta, Coleman ran for 2,340 yards and 18 touchdowns while also catching 92 passes for 1,010 yards and 11 scores.

AJC: Falcons may not think they have holes. I think they do

The official start of the new league year won’t occur until 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, at which point a flurry of news is likely to occur as teams can officially agree to deals with free agents.

Some of that news may involve the Falcons, which would likely come as a delight to Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Michael Cunningham. In a column he wrote Monday, Cunningham explained why he felt it would be a mistake for the Falcons to sit out free agency, although he understands the financial restrictions.

“Maybe the Falcons are right to sit out what could be an overheated free agent market,” Cunningham writes. “The reality is their salary-cap crunch didn’t give them much choice. That puts pressure on the team-building duo of Dimitroff and Dan Quinn to find some players in the draft who can help the Falcons now. 

“Quinn and his new-look staff will have to get results with those prospects and the underachieving players already on the roster. The Falcons will have to be healthier in 2019, a factor that mostly is outside of their control. These are the realistic ways for the Falcons to get better because their salary cap is in shoddy shape.” 

It's important to note that Cunningham’s column was written on Monday, because on Tuesday ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the Falcons got creative with Matt Ryan’s contract and may have created more room in the salary cap.

Of course, free agency won’t officially begin for several more hours, so we’ll have to wait and see just how active Atlanta will be.

Takk McKinley has some added motivation in 2019

Defensive end Takk McKinley is one of the most entertaining Twitter follows among the Falcons players. On Monday, McKinley tweeted out a bit of personal motivation for his upcoming season:

McKinley has dyed his dreads in past seasons, but now he’s threatening to cut them off if he doesn’t reach his personal goal of at least 10 sacks. That’s not out of the realm of possibility for McKinley, but he would need to turn in a career-best year in the sack category.

As a rookie in 2017, McKinley recorded six sacks. Last season, McKinley upped that number to seven. Is an even bigger jump on the horizon?

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