Falcons Rumors

QB Luke McCown Retires From NFL

Longtime NFL quarterback Luke McCown is calling it quits. On Friday, the 36-year-old announced his retirement from football.

Today I am officially retiring from the NFL,” McCown wrote. “It’s bittersweet to leave the game I love and the craft I’ve worked at since the second grade.”

McCown first entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Browns in 2004. He started in four games as a rookie for Cleveland before a draft weekend deal shipped him to Tampa Bay. He did not see the field for the Bucs until 2007, when he made three starts for the team. Between ’07 and ’15, McCown started only three more contests.

Even though he didn’t see much playing time over the years, McCown earned enough on contracts with the Browns, Bucs, Jaguars, Saints, Falcons, and Cowboys to retire comfortably. We wish the QB and former Verizon spokesperson the best in the next chapter of his life.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dwight Freeney Retires From NFL

Dwight Freeney is calling it a career. After 16 seasons in the NFL, Freeney will sign a one-day contract with Indianapolis to retire as a member of the Colts. 

Freeney entered the league as the No. 11 pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. Since then, he has racked up seven Pro Bowl nods, three first-team All-Pro selections, and a Super Bowl ring.

Freeney, 38, will be best remembered for his time in blue and white, where he amassed 107. 5 sacks across eleven seasons. All in all, he has 125.5 career sacks to his credit, tying him for 17th all-time in NFL history.

The Colts averaged 11 wins per year during Freeney’s run with the Colts and had 11 sacks in his 22 playoff games with the team. Many thought the Colts were reaching when they selected Freeney in ’02, but he turned out to be the perfect fit for first-year head coach Tony Dungy.

Bill [Polian] had seen Dwight and thought he was exactly the guy I had been talking about,” Dungy said of Freeney. “We’re sitting at No. 11 in the first round and people looked at his size and thought it was too high to draft him. Bill, to his credit, said, ‘If this is going to be the big piece of the puzzle, let’s not worry about where we take Dwight and what other people think. Let’s get the guy who is going to be the perfect piece.’ Dwight was the straw that stirred the drink.”

The Syracuse product played in three Super Bowls — two with the Colts, one with the Falcons — and started in 19 postseason games. All seven of Freeney’s double-digit sack seasons came with the Colts.

Following his Colts run, which ran through the 2012 season, Freeney played with five more teams. His most notable post-Indianapolis season came with the 2015 Cardinals, for whom he registered eight sacks and helped to the NFC title game despite being an off-the-bench edge rusher. He recorded three sacks in each of the past two seasons, playing in Atlanta, Seattle and Detroit. Prior to Arizona, Freeney spent two seasons in San Diego.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Host Harold Landry

  • The Bills are hosting Boston College edge rusher Harold Landry, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Almost assuredly a first-round pick, Landry is viewed a notch below the draft’s consensus best defensive end, North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb. Landry, who notched 48 sacks during his collegiate career, isn’t expected to last until pick No. 23 (Patriots), per Rapoport. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as he’s drawn plenty of interest during the pre-draft process. Landry has also recently met with the 49ers and Falcons, report Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). In a draft that lacks depth at the pass rusher position, Landry should be highly coveted on Day 1.

Falcons Need DT, WR In Draft

  • The Falcons‘ biggest needs in the upcoming draft include defensive tackle and wide receiver, as George Henry of The Associated Press writes. Atlanta owns the No. 26 pick in the first round and picks in every subsequent round, except for the fifth. The interior defensive line is a need after the departure of Dontari Poe and a pass catcher is needed after losing Taylor Gabriel to free agency.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/18

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Draft Rumors: Patriots, Key, 49ers

After losing Nate Solder in free agency, the Patriots are on the lookout for offensive tackle help. With that in mind, the Patriots hosted Texas tackle Connor Williams on a visit on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Thanks to the Brandin Cooks trade earlier this offseason, the Pats are armed with two picks late in the first round. Williams could be available when the Pats are called to the podium at No. 23, though the league-wide need for tackles could result in the 6’6″ lineman going higher.

Here’s the latest batch of NFL draft news:

  • LSU outside linebacker/defensive end Arden Key worked out for the 49ers on Wednesday and will move on to the Raiders on Thursday, Rapoport tweets.
  • South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert, who could be the first tight end to come off of the board, visited the Dolphins on Wednesday, Rapoport tweets. Miami is reportedly high on him, but he has also met with the Seahawks, Chargers, and Lions, according to Rapoport. As previously reported, the Vikings met with Goedert last week.
  • Cornerback Isaiah Oliver has had workouts/visits with the Eagles, Falcons, Bears, Texans, 49ers, Cardinals, Panthers, Patriots, Saints, Broncos, and Cowboys, sources tell Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Miller personally believes that he would be a great fit for Arizona. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Oliver ranked as the 36th best prospect in this year’s draft and it would be no surprise to see him go in the first round.
  • Georgia running back Nick Chubb will visit with the Buccaneers on Wednesday, according to Josh Norris of NBC Sports (on Twitter). Chubb has been lauded for his power and ability to run on the inside and figures to be a second round pick.
  • The Lions hosted Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson for a visit on Tuesday, Rapoport tweets. Johnson was recently bumped from Jeremiah’s top 50 but should still garner consideration in the second round.

Falcons Notes: Ryan, Staff

Contract talks between the Falcons and franchise quarterback Matt Ryan have been enveloped by positive words from both sides, and today Ryan affirmed that while no deal is close, talks are moving towards an end goal. “Everything is good. I think the discussions have been very positive. I think those will work out,” said Ryan, whom Atlanta is reportedly willing to make the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback (story via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). “As far as a time frame of anything like that, it will shake out. It will handle itself. I don’t know if it will be today or tomorrow. Or in a couple of weeks, but I really think we are moving in the right direction.”

  • The Falcons have announced a few late additions to their coaching staff, as they’ve hired Travis Jones as an assistant defensive line coach and Aden Durde as a defensive quality control assistant. Jones, notably, is fresh off a five-year run with the Seahawks during which he served as the team’s DL coach for four seasons. He’s also worked for the Dolphins, and Saints at the NFL level.

Falcons Could Be A Fit For Florida's Taven Bryan

  • Florida DT Taven Bryan has been generating a lot of buzz lately, per Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, who tweets that the Gator could be a top-25 pick. Miller suggests the Falcons, who are working out another DT in N.C. State’s B.J. Hill, could be a fit.