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Falcons Uneasy With Julio Jones’ Relationship with HOF WR Terrell Owens

Falcons star wide receiver Julio Jones wants more money, and he skipped minicamp to get more money. The relationship between Jones and the Falcons is strained, according to Mike Freeman of Bleacherreport.

Freeman cites league sources who have told him this for weeks. It can be repaired but for now there’s tension.

A report from D. Orlando Ledbetter, a longtime Falcons reporter and an excellent journalist. Ledbetter said on ESPN Radio in Charlotte on Monday that the Falcons are uneasy about Jones’ relationship with Owens, whom he’s trained with this offseason.

“The fact that he’s running around with Terrell Owens has the front office uneasy,” Ledbetter said.

Ledbetter’s report may be correct, but what is incorrect is this notion that Owens is actually having some type of negative effect on Jones. Or that he’s in any way involved in Jones’ negotiations with the team.

“I have no idea where all of this is coming from,” Owens told me this week. “I have nothing to do with Julio except training. This is the media trying [to] create something that’s not even there. It’s very unfortunate. What possible reason would they have to create that narrative?”

From everything Freeman has been told by people close to Jones, the reality is that he sees Owens as a good person and valuable influence. That they’ve trained together says nothing more than that the two have a positive and close relationship.

Falcons Excited About Moving Vic Beasley Back to Defensive End from Linebacker

The Falcons moved Vic Beasley back to defensive end after using him as a linebacker. Both the coaches and Beasley are excited about the position reversal, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Defensive line coach Bryant Young believes Beasley will flourish while solely playing defensive end.

“It frees him up to play more first- or second-down nickel and be available in that way and be fresher during the course of the game,” Young said. “Not that he couldn’t handle it because I thought he did a good job of handling the (strongside) and playing defensive end. Just having him available to play more reps at defensive end will be good for us.”

Beasley, whose sack total fell to five last season, looked sleek and comfortable back at left defensive end during the team’s open OTA session Tuesday.

Beasley appeared ready to move back to the spot where he led the league in sacks and earned All-Pro status during the 2016 season.

“Man, just being a help to the team,” Beasley said about playing linebacker. “I understand that when one man goes down, I tried to step in. If it’s filling a need and helping out at that position, I’m open for it. I’m here for the best interests of the team.”

Beasley had to develop a different mentality while dropping into coverage.

“I wasn’t rushing as much as I normally would,” Beasley said of his dip in sacks. “There were less opportunities, but it was for the betterment of the team and what the team needed most at that moment. I was fine with that.”

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he wants Beasley to develop an inside countermove to go along with his excellent outside speed rush. He believes the defense has several areas to improve.

“Get more sacks,” Beasley said. “Everybody likes getting more sacks, right? Make more plays in the backfield. Getting deflections, that’s what it boils down to, being a relentless defense and a strong front four.”

Falcons Ink Veteran Free Agent DT Terrell McClain

Free agent defensive tackle Terrell McClain has a new home, as the veteran has inked a deal with the Falcons.

The Falcons on Friday signed McClain to a contract, the team announced. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 6-foot-2, 302-pound McClain will provide depth and experience along the interior of Atlanta’s defensive line. He joins Grady Jarrett, rookie Deadrin Senat and Garrison Smith, among other defensive tackles currently on the Falcons’ roster.

McClain previously signed a four-year, $21 million contract with the Redskins in 2017, but Washington released him on April 30 after using a first-round pick on defensive tackle Daron Payne.

McClain’s production the past season likely didn’t help his cause in Washington, as he appeared in 12 games with two starts and totaled 20 tackles (17 solo) and two sacks.

The 29-year-old McClain entered the league in 2011 out of South Florida as a third-round pick with the Carolina Panthers. In addition to spending with Washington last year, he had stints with the Patriots (2012), Texans (2012-13) and Cowboys (2014-16).

Video: NFL Network Chats about the New Mega Deal for Falcons QB Matt Ryan

The Falcons and franchise QB Matt Ryan agreed on a five-year extension on Thursday worth an estimated $150 million, and following the announcement of the deal, NFL Network spoke about it, breaking down what it could mean for other NFL QB’s – including Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.

Report: Falcons QB Matt Ryan Agrees to Five-Year Extension, $100 Million Guaranteed

He’s one the best quarterbacks in the game today, and probably will go down as the greatest to ever play the game for the Falcons at that position, and today he got his due.

Matt Ryan, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, has agreed to a deal with the Falcons that would pay $100 million guaranteed, a five-year extension making $30 million a season.

Falcons Earn an ‘B’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Falcons, who according to Kiper got an ‘B’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

Atlanta lost wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Andre Roberts in free agency, and we knew the Falcons were going to address the position at some point in this draft. And after the season Calvin Ridley had at Alabama, I never thought he’d be available at No. 26. But then his testing numbers at the combine were just average, and he started to drop. Listen, you have to trust the tape with Ridley. He’s an advanced route runner who just gets open, and that’s against SEC defenses and some of the best defensive backs in the country. That’s why making him the No. 3 wideout behind Julio Jones (another Bama star) and Mohamed Sanu is a great move. Matt Ryan has to be elated with his options, and the NFC South only got tougher this offseason.

Elsewhere, defensive tackle Deadrin Senat (pick 90) could be a straight replacement for Dontari Poe, who left for the Panthers in free agency. Cornerback Isaiah Oliver (58) is a supreme athlete who also returned punts for the Buffaloes. Ito Smith (126) is insurance in case they can’t retain Tevin Coleman. Smith is only 5-9, but he’ll help in the passing game — he had 140 career receptions.

If there’s a qualm with this class, it’s that there’s no guard, and they could have used a young guy to push the starters. Still, I like Ridley, Oliver and Senat.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/26 Calvin Ridley WR ALABAMA
2/58 Isaiah Oliver CB COLORADO
3/90 Deadrin Senat DT SOUTH FLORIDA
4/126 Ito Smith RB SOUTHERN MISS
6/194 Russell Gage WR LSU
6/200 Foyesade Oluokun S YALE

Julio Jones Still Not at Falcons Offseason Workouts; Deletes Falcons Photos from His Instagram Page

Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones has yet to join the Atlanta Falcons for offseason workouts, according to multiple sources, and the deletion of Falcons photos from his Instagram page fueled speculation of unrest between Jones and the team, Vaughn McClure of ESPN reports.

Jones was not with his teammates when the Falcons officially began offseason workouts last week but was expected back this week. He wasn’t present, however, when the players returned to the field Monday.

The team said the deletion of the Falcons photos had to do with Jones wanting a “fresh start” on social media and nothing more.

One source told ESPN it was to set an example for Alabama players. Jones, a star receiver at Alabama from 2008-10, had spent the day with Crimson Tide players.

Falcons director of football communications Brian Cearns also pointed out in a tweet Tuesday morning that Jones had discussed his relationship with social media on a March 28 episode of “Bama Football Shop Talk.” In the video, Jones discussed needing to be willing to let go of social media.

“At the end of the day, when that social media is gone — you delete social media right now, what you stand for, who are you?” Jones said. “Social media ain’t going to make me.”

There have been whispers about a possible contract situation regarding Jones, but nothing has gone public from Jones’ camp or from the team.

Falcons Release Defensive Linemen Taniela Tupou

The Falcons announced Wednesday the release of defensive lineman Taniela Tupou with a non-football injury designation, Will McFadden of reports.

Tupou was signed to the Falcons’ active roster prior to their game against the Miami Dolphins last season to provide depth for the defensive line. That was the only game he was active for in 2017. In January, the Falcons signed Tupou to a reserve futures contract.

Tupou was initially signed by the Falcons last offseason, and he was added to the team’s practice squad in Week 3. Originally, Tupou was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as a college free agent out of Washington after the 2016 NFL Draft.

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