Early Bird Report: Falcons taking precautionary health measures

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak currently happening around the globe, the Atlanta Falcons are among the NFL teams taking preventative measures to ensure the safety of their employees. The team announced Thursday that IBM Performance Field would be closed until Monday for a deep cleaning of the entire facility.

In addition, the Falcons are pulling scouts and coaches off the road to minimize any exposure to the coronavirus.

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

CBS Sports: Offseason moves each team should make

The Falcons are in the midst of an important offseason for the future of the franchise. With several talented players remaining on the roster but limited financial flexibility, each decision is being weighed carefully by the front office. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora recently wrote a piece detailing the offseason move each NFL team should make, and he believes it's in the Falcons' best interest to begin freeing up some cap space by moving the veteran players on their roster.

"Move Desmond Trufant, Devante [sic] Freeman and Alex Mack for what you can get," La Canfora writes. "Need picks and need cap room, badly. Most of these deals are so bad the Falcons will be stuck with some players, or end up just cutting others. This franchise is stuck in no-man's land, to me, with enough talent not to be horrible but nowhere close to being an actual contender and too much money tied up into a handful of aging players."

To read the rest of La Canfora's piece, click here.

ESPN: Raheem Morris focused on now

After helping lead a dramatic defensive turnaround that played a key role in the Falcons finishing the 2019 season with six wins in their final eight games, Raheem Morris has earned the role of defensive coordinator moving forward. A former head coach in this league, Morris' ability to communicate with Falcons players was apparent.

Morris spoke with the Atlanta media recently and discussed the importance of finding a defensive identity. First and foremost, the Falcons know they need to find ways to generate more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

"To have a successful defense, you guys know, is affecting the quarterback, whatever that means," Morris said, according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure. "A lot of people, when you say affect the quarterback, they automatically go right to sacks. But you've got to get him off the spot. You've got to fool him with disguise. You've got to get those guys to think a little bit."

McClure wrote more about Morris's ascent within the Falcons' ranks and the possibility that sustained success could once again lead to the ultimate opportunity within the NFL. To read McClure's piece, click here.

AJC: Falcons receive no compensatory picks

According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta Falcons were not among the teams the NFL announced would receive compensatory picks in this year's NFL Draft. Compensatory picks are given to teams based on the quantity or quality of players it loses in free agency the previous year.

"With the Falcons set to lose tight end Austin Hooper, linebacker De'Vondre Campbell and backup guard Wes Schweitzer to free agency, they could be in line for compensatory picks in the 2021 draft," Ledbetter writes.

To read the rest of Ledbetter's report on compensatory picks, click here.

ESPN: Best and worst recent FA signings

While the draft is still the most cost-effective way to build a championship team in the NFL, free agency is undoubtedly important in helping accomplish that goal. Like any team, the Falcons have had their share of hits and misses in free agency over the years. ESPN took a look at the best and worst signings over recent seasons for each team, and the Falcons did hit the jackpot just a few years ago by signing center Alex Mack.

"The former Cleveland Brown brought immediate stability to the offensive line and played a big role in helping the Falcons to Super Bowl LI," ESPN's Vaughn McClure writes. "Mack's intelligence and ability to block into the second level helped establish him as the anchor of the line."

To see the Falcons' worst free agent signing, click here.

Tampa Bay Times: Bucs "all in" on Tom Brady

The G.O.A.T appears all set to hit free agency next week, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are intent on signing Tom Brady this offseason, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Stroud reports that the Bucs still aren't sold on Winston, who is also set to become a free agent, as the franchise quarterback, and Brady could be the most accomplished quarterback to ever hit the open market.

"It's true," Stroud writes. "The franchise that has not reached the postseason in 12 years will do almost anything to land the quarterback who has been to the playoffs for 11 straight seasons and won six Super Bowls. … This is not hype. It's hope. This is fact, not fantasy. This is the plan. This is the Bucs' play."

To read the rest of Stroud's report on the Bucs' interest in Brady, click here.

Here is a look at all players set to enter free agency when the new league year begins on March 18. Restricted free agents and exclusive rights free agents are noted in the captions.

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