Early Bird Report: Falcons' biggest offseason need


The Atlanta Falcons enter the 2020 offseason in an interesting situation. The team has quality top-tier talent in players like Julio Jones and Grady Jarrett, but they don't currently appear to have much flexibility in the salary cap to bolster other areas of their roster.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff says the Falcons can get creative to generate some space financially, but how they will choose to spend their money is also a cause for intrigue. ESPN's Vaughn McClure believes the Falcons' biggest need this offseason is an upgrade at edge rusher after Atlanta finished tied for 29th in sacks.

"The Falcons need to find one or two players who can consistently get to the quarterback in unison with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Grady Jarrett," McClure writes. "They finished tied for 29th in sacks. Vic Beasley Jr., the former No. 8 overall pick, is not the answer and has an expiring contract. We'll see if the Falcons uncover a pass-rusher in free agency or find help via the draft."

To see the biggest offseason needs for other NFL teams, click here.

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

NFL.com: All-Decade team

Since the Falcons drafted him in 2011, Julio Jones has emerged as one of the most dominant receivers the NFL has ever seen. After yet another season in which the Pro Bowler has broken multiple records, Jones continues to cement his legacy.

Given what he's accomplished in his career, Jones has done more than enough to warrant a spot on some All-Decade teams, and he's the first receiver mentioned on the list NFL.com writer Chris Wesseling put together.

"Nearly seven years ago, recently enshrined Hall of Fame super scout Gil Brandt insisted Jones was a superior player to the more celebrated Calvin Johnson," Wesseling writes. "Just 10 days ago, Jones was directly or indirectly responsible for 20 of Atlanta's 23 offensive points in an upset victory at San Francisco, proving that he remains an All-Pro talent in the late stages of his prime. He reminds me of 1996-97 Hakeem Olajuwon: perhaps no longer dominant enough for the gravitational pull necessary to carry the 1995 Houston Rockets or the 2016 Atlanta Falcons to the title round, but good luck finding a handful better at what he does."

Jones is the only Falcons player to make the list, but Wesseling's All-Decade team provides a fun look at some of the best players in recent memory. To read the whole thing, click here.

AJC: History not on Quinn's side

Falcons owner Arthur Blank opted for consistency in retaining coach Dan Quinn, believing that he still gives the team the best chance to win moving forward. In a column for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Michael Cunningham took a look back at NFL history and how successful former Super Bowl coaches have been after back-to-back losing seasons.

"That past performance doesn't necessarily predict future results," Cunningham concludes. "But [Bill] Cowher is the only coach in the NFL's parity era to make the Super Bowl, face the abyss of consecutive losing seasons and pull himself back. Quinn has been a good coach, but he's no Cowher. Blank is banking on winning a bet that's only ever paid out once on a better entrant."

To read the rest of Cunningham's column, click here.

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