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Falcons Add a Big Piece to Their Offensive Punch Grabbing L.A. RB Todd Gurley

The Falcons spent the early part of free agency looking to help out their running back core, have very well may have gotten themselves a gift in now former Rams 2018 and 2029 leading rusher Todd Gurley.

What’s the Status of the Falcons Receiving Core as Free Agency Closes In?

NFL.com has a new article out discussing how things look to be shaping up with free agency ready to start very soon, and how teams wide receiver cores are looking going into the process.

The Falcons have one of the best in the game in Julio Jones, but could use some needed depth at the position for 2020 and beyond.

You can read the entire article HERE – for now here’s what the piece says about the Falcons receiver situation.

Top three WRs in 2019: Julio Jones (99-1,394-6), Calvin Ridley (63-866-7), Russell Gage (49-446-1).

Atlanta’s receivers were targeted 421 times in 2019, the most in the NFL. Only the Chiefs called more passing plays on first down in the first half of games (64.2%) than the Falcons (55.3%) which gives us some clues about how their playbook works. This offseason is likely to be centered on defense, which will help increase the impact of this passing game’s efficiency. With Jones — whose 77 receiving first downs ranked second in the NFL in 2019 — signed through 2023 and Ridley under team control through 2022, improving the Falcons’ passing game is less of a priority than other positions with respect to projecting wins.

Who Would the Falcons Use the Franchise Tag on If Needed in 2020?

USA Today has released an interesting article regarding the ever unpopular (at least for players) ‘Franchise tag’ and how team’s may use it in 2020.

It seems like every team has an option to use the franchise tag, which stops a player from even negotiating with outside teams and forces them to stay put.

To see the entire list of all 32 teams and the players that might be franchised, click HERE.

Here’s what the article has to say about the Falcons, who they say won’t tag any player, but give an idea on who they would.

They won’t tag anyone, including highly productive TE Austin Hooper.

Matt Schaub Expected to be Back with the Falcons in 2020

The Falcons are expected to pick up the $2 million 2020 option on veteran quarterback Matt Schaub according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Schaub started one game in 2019, throwing for 460 yards against the Seahawks. Unfortunately, it took 52 attempts to do so and the Falcons trailed 24-0 at halftime. It was Schaub’s first start since 2015. The veteran will turn 39 years old in June and cannot be counted on as a realistic option for contention if Matt Ryan misses time.

The Falcons seem to be an organization that values continuity above all else, as seen in the surprising decision of owner Arthur Blank to bring head coach Dan Quinn back for yet another season. It would nevertheless not be a surprise if the team decided a late-round draft pick to fortify their QB room.

Devonta Freeman’s Future with the Falcons Up in the Air

Devonta Freeman’s future in Atlanta is in doubt, Nick Shook of NFL.com reports.

Once a rock-solid marriage, it appears as if the running back’s union with the Falcons may be nearing its end. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday the Falcons are considering parting ways with Freeman less than halfway through his five-year contract extension.

Financial impact is the main reason for such a move, as Freeman is now through the three seasons with the highest dead cap numbers. That figure drops from $12.75 million to $6 million in 2020, making that type of release and resulting financial burden easier to bear. Conversely, Freeman’s cap hit (if he’s kept on the team) rises from $6.75 million to $9.5 million in 2020. This contract was designed for such a parting of ways when it was signed in 2017.

Back then, Freeman was an integral part of Atlanta’s offense, which had reached Super Bowl LI with Kyle Shanahan calling the offensive shots and returned to the Divisional Round of the playoffs in 2017. Freeman and teammate Tevin Coleman made up the backfield duo that served as Atlanta’s offensive foundation under Shanahan and his replacement, Steve Sarkisian. Freeman had rushed for exactly 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns from 2015-2017. He was worth the money.

Since then, Freeman has played in just 16 games over two seasons, rushing for 724 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 433 receiving yards and four receiving scores. Coleman is in San Francisco, where his team just fell painfully short in Super Bowl LIV. A lot has changed.

Freeman’s 3.9 yards per carry in 2019 were a career low, but it’s not all on the running back. Atlanta was generally abysmal for a large portion of 2019, and Freeman was returning from a groin injury that landed him on injured reserve after just two games in 2018.

Falcons TE Austin Hooper Says He’s Not Gotten an Offer From the Team

Falcons tight end Austin Hooper, who’s set to play in the Pro Bowl as a alternate, updated his contract situation in an interview with 92.9 The Game in Orlando on Wednesday, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

“If the organization wants me, they’ll offer me,” Hooper told Caleb Johnson of 92.9 The Game. “I still haven’t received an offer from them. … As of now, I’m enjoying what could be my last game as a Falcon at the Pro Bowl.”

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the talks with Hooper were “trudging along” while in Mobile on Tuesday at the Senior Bowl.

Hooper is set to become a free agent in March, but the Falcons could slap him with the franchise tag.

Video: Falcons Close Out 2019 with a NFC South Battle with the Buccaneers

The Falcons are on the road Sunday in their 2019 finale as they take on the rival Buccaneers.

Here’s the preview:

Falcons Announce Coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff to Return in 2020

The Falcons on Friday announced that Dan Quinn will return as head coach in 2020 and secondary coach Raheem Morris will be promoted to defensive coordinator according to atlantafalcons.com.

GM Thomas Dimitroff will also be retained and both Quinn and Dimitroff will now report directly to Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay.

Quinn had been serving as both head coach and defensive coordinator this season but, given that the team has played much better defensively since Morris was switched to the defensive side of the ball during the bye week, will cede coordinator duties at the end of 2019.

The Falcons have recovered from a miserable 1-7 start by winning five of their last seven and saved Quinn’s job for the second consecutive year.

Quinn survived this year by the skin of his teeth but if the Falcons fail to improve on their sluggish 2019, the 49-year-old’s sixth season in Atlanta could-and should-be his final one.

It’s been a whirlwind season for Morris, who began the year as Atlanta’s wide receivers coach.

There is no denying that the defense has played much better since Morris switched positions, moving from the 31st-ranked unit in the league in scoring defense to a top-10 unit in most statistical categories.

A long-time position coach (he also served as Jon Gruden’s successor in Tampa Bay), this will be Morris’ first stint as an NFL defensive coordinator.

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