Vic Beasley

Julio Jones, Rest Of Falcons In Camp

Led by star receiver Julio Jones, all players who did not attend Falcons OTAs arrived for the first day on minicamp, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets

That list includes the recently franchise-tagged Grady Jarrett, defensive end Vic Beasley and linebacker Deion Jones.

In addition to arriving for mandatory minicamp, Julio Jones is not worried about his contract and is sure a new deal will get done, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writes.

“The situation will get handled. It’s just a matter of time when they’re going to do it. Mr. Blank has spoken, so what more do I need to say or talk about?” Jones said.

McClure notes that in addition to a reworked deal for the pass-catcher, the Falcons also hope to sign Jarrett and Deion Jones to extensions. In addition to Julio not worried about his deal getting done, Falcons owner Arthur Blank sounds just as confident.

“I’m not worried about getting the deals done. I’m speaking on behalf of Atlanta and Atlanta fans. [General manager] Thomas [Dimitroff] is working hard to get them done. Coach [Dan] Quinn is supportive, as well. It will happen. It’s just a matter of when,” Blank said.

Though he did arrive at the three-day minicamp, Julio will not be participating due to a foot injury. Jones is coming off his fifth consecutive 1,400-yard campaign and led the league with 1,677 receiving yards in 2018.

Latest On Falcons’ Extension Candidates

For a second straight offseason, the subject of Julio Jones‘ contract has been a key offseason Falcons talking point. But next week, the All-Pro wide receiver will be with the team when it conducts its minicamp.

Dan Quinn confirmed (via The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz, on Twitter) the ninth-year receiver will show for minicamp, which begins June 11. So will fourth-year defensive end Vic Beasley. It is not yet certain if franchise-tagged defensive tackle Grady Jarrett will join them, though Quinn anticipates he will. Skipping mandatory minicamp would cost the trio nearly $90K each.

Regardless of the statuses of Jones, Jarrett and fellow extension candidate Deion Jones, the Falcons expect to re-sign all three. He did not specify a plan for Beasley, who joined the group in staying away from Falcons OTAs.

We have a salary cap. We have limits that we have to think about not only today but tomorrow, and we have to balance all that off,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “But these are three great young men that we care deeply about, both personally and professionally. They are going to be Falcons for life.

I’m not worried about getting the deals done. I’m speaking on behalf of Atlanta and Atlanta fans. Thomas [Dimitroff] is working hard to get them done. Coach Quinn is supportive as well. It will happen. It’s just a matter of when.”

A new deal for Jones has been rumored for weeks now, and it will almost certainly make the 30-year-old receiver the league’s new highest-paid player at the position. Two seasons remain on the five-year, $71.25MM extension he signed in 2015. Jarrett is tethered to a $15.2MM franchise tag. Jones would have the most to gain by signing an extension before the season. The former second-round pick’s rookie deal pays him just $1.45MM. The Falcons picked up Beasley’s fifth-year option (worth $12.8MM) last year.

The Falcons, though, are light on cap space ($6.5MM, the fifth-lowest figure at the moment), so it will take some work to fulfill Blank’s vision.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Browns, OBJ, Falcons, Hawks

If there was any doubt after he missed all but one day of OTAs, Odell Beckham confirmed on Friday he will report to minicamp on June 3, Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot writes.

Beckham confirmed the news replying to a comment on Instagram when one user told him to “cut out the crap and get to camp.” The star receiver responded, “I’ll be there on the 3rd, u coming?”

In his introductory press conference, Beckham said he wanted to set the tone by showing up the first day when asked how much he’d participate in OTAs. In all, the newly acquired pass catcher made one session and, when asked how much he missed, head coach Freddie Kitchens replied, ” A lot — the offense.”

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Another star player confirmed he will be showing up to mandatory minicamp, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writes. That was Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley, who did not attend OTAs. Entering the final year of his deal, Beasley is set to earn $12.8MM after the Falcons picked up his fifth-year option this offseason.
  • K.J. Wright believes Bobby Wagner will remain with the Seahawks past 2019, Pro Football Talk’s Curtis Crabtree writes. “It’s going to be really exciting to see everything pan out. He’s going to be a Seahawk for life.” Acting as his own agent, Wagner said he plans to surpass the $85MM with $43MM guaranteed deal that C.J. Mosley just inked with the Jets.

Falcons Plan To Retain Vic Beasley

Vic Beasley is under contract with the Falcons through 2019 since the club picked up his fifth-year option last year. However, Atlanta could cut Beasley before March 13 and clear his entire $12.81MM salary from the books, and given his underwhelming performance over the past two seasons, there has been speculation that the club will do exactly that.

But head coach Dan Quinn threw some cold water on those rumors, saying that the Falcons plan to keep Beasley in the fold. Quinn said (via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com), “I’m very excited about where I think [Beasley] can go to, and we’ve had good conversations about the impact that he can make. The biggest impact that he can make is doing it really consistently.”

Beasley, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2015 draft, had what appeared to be a breakout campaign in 2016, racking up a league-leading 15.5 sacks to go along with his only Pro Bowl and First Team All-Pro selections. But he has regressed considerably since then, recording just five sacks in each of the past two seasons and grading out as a below-average edge defender per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics.

Beasley was actually Quinn’s first draft choice after Quinn became Atlanta’s head coach, and now that Quinn is set to take over defensive play-calling duties, he believes Beasley is due for a resurgence. Of course, Quinn would not comment on Beasley’s future with the club beyond 2019, and he acknowledged that Beasley would need to return to his earlier level of performance if he wants to land a long-term deal with the Falcons.

It stands to reason that the Falcons would be willing to give Beasley one more shot, as the team rebuffed trade offers for the Clemson product before the 2018 trade deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Failed Trades: Beasley, Fowler, Jets, Jags

After the trade deadline passes each year, there are inevitably reports about the trades that were discussed but never consummated. For instance, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that teams were trying to trade for Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley (video link). Beasley has just one sack this year, and he has regressed considerably since his First Team All-Pro performance in 2016, but Atlanta believes it can make the playoffs this season, and it was not prepared to move a foundational piece like Beasley, who is under contract through 2019 via the fifth-year option.

Now for more reports concerning trades that never happened, which nonetheless shed some light on the teams that declined to make the deals, the clubs that tried to make the deals, and the players themselves:

  • The Jets, desperate for pass rushing help, inquired on former Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler over the summer, and they tried again at last week’s trade deadline, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com details. The Rams ultimately acquired Fowler in exchange for a 2019 third-rounder and 2020 fifth-rounder, and while the Jets submitted a similar offer about a half hour before the 4pm deadline on October 30, they also wanted a fourth-rounder to come back to them. As such, Jacksonville pulled the trigger on the Rams’ offer.
  • Interestingly, before dealing him to the Saints in August, the Jets offered quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Jaguars in a one-for-one swap for Fowler, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Jacksonville rebuffed that proposal, even though it knew that Fowler was probably on the way out, and given their QB struggles, that decision may have made a major difference in the Jags’ season.
  • Fowler may not have been the Rams‘ first choice for pass rushing help. We already knew that Los Angeles had made a significant offer for Khalil Mack before he was dealt to the Bears, but Schefter writes that the Rams also called the Texans to discuss Jadeveon Clowney in the first weeks of the season, and as late as last week, they made a push to acquire the BillsJerry Hughes.
  • Several teams, including the Eagles, called the Jets in an effort to acquire deep threat Robby Anderson, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link). However, Gang Green opted to hold on to Anderson because the development of Sam Darnold remains the team’s top priority, and it did not want to remove one of Darnold’s biggest weapons.

Falcons Exercise Vic Beasley’s Option

The Falcons have exercised the fifth-year option on defensive end Vic Beasley, according to a team announcement. It was an easy call for Atlanta and GM Thomas Dimitroff told reporters back in February that he would be exercising the option.

[RELATED: PFR’s Fifth-Year Option Tracker]

Beasley is already under contract through 2018 at a $4.6MM cap number, the fourth year of his rookie contract. The option year will pay him $14.2MM in 2019, as shown on PFR’s Fifth-Year Option Tracker.

The Falcons experimented with using Beasley as an outside linebacker in the past, but he’ll return to playing defensive end full time in 2018, according to head coach Dan Quinn. Despite his up-and-down ’17, his previous work and potential made the fifth-year option decision a simple decision.

In 2016, Beasley led the league with 15.5 sacks, earning a Pro Bowl nod and a First Team All-Pro selection. Last year, he had just five sacks as his mvoe to linebacker resulted in a career-worst 55.6 overall score from Pro Football Focus.

The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only, so the Falcons will have an opportunity to bail if necessary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons To Exercise Vic Beasley’s Option

The Falcons will exercise their fifth-year option on Vic Beasley, GM Thomas Dimitroff told reporters (Twitter link via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). The Falcons had until May to make the call, but they did not need the extra time to mull it over. Vic Beasley (Vertical)

The fifth-year option will keep Beasley under contract through the 2019 season. He’s already signed through the upcoming season at a $4.6MM cap number, the fourth year of his rookie contract. The figures for the fifth-year option are not yet known, but it will likely be in excess of $13MM.

The Falcons experimented with using Beasley as an outside linebacker in the past, but he’ll return to playing defensive end full time in 2018, according to head coach Dan Quinn. Despite his up-and-down campaign, his previous work and potential made the fifth-year option decision an easy call.

In 2016, Beasley led the league with 15.5 sacks, earning a Pro Bowl nod and a First Team All-Pro selection. Last year, he had just five sacks and his reassignment to linebacker resulted in a career-worst 55.6 overall score from Pro Football Focus.

The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only, so the Falcons will have an opportunity to change course if necessary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Lose Vic Beasley To Injury

Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley is expected to miss about a month with a hamstring injury, a source tells Zach Klein of WSB (on Twitter). Beasley suffered the injury during Sunday night’s 34-23 win over the Packers. Vic Beasley (vertical)

The 25-year-old led the league with 15.5 sacks in 2016, earning a Pro Bowl nod and a First Team All-Pro selection. He also played a major role in Atlanta’s nationally televised win over Green Bay, including his bone-crushing hit on Aaron Rodgers in the third quarter which led to a defensive TD.

Defensive end Courtney Upshaw was sidelined for Week 2 with an ankle injury, so the Falcons’ front seven could be particularly thin when they face the Lions on Sunday. In the meantime, the Falcons will have to lean a little more heavily on Derrick Shelby, Adrian Clayborn, and first-round pick Takkarist McKinley. Since Beasley and Upshaw are facing only short-term absences, they may not have the roster room to add an impact edge rusher.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Colts, Bills, Hightower, Beasley

Broncos quarterbacks struggled during the 2016 campaign, leading some to wonder if the team could pursue a veteran option this offseason. That thought has apparently crossed receiver Emmanuel Sanders‘ mind, as the wideout said he’d certainly benefit if the squad acquired Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

“I believe I would benefit,” Sanders said (via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “But one thing about it is: I’m always gonna take it back and I’m just gonna put it on John Elway. In John Elway I trust. If he does bring him over, I think Tony Romo will fit good in [Mike] McCoy’s system. It’s a no-huddle, up-tempo offense. I think that it’s gonna be similar to the Cowboys. I think he has Demaryius Thomas and some receiver No. 10 on the other side. I feel like we will win ballgames with Tony Romo or potentially a championship. At the same time, Paxton Lynch played in a spread offense at Memphis and he can be successful. I think Trevor can be successful. We’ll see what we do. I can’t sit up here and say ‘Bring Tony Romo!’ because I also have two other quarterbacks that are playing really well too.”

During his introductory press conference, Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said Trevor Siemian and Lynch would compete for the starting quarterback gig.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL as we wrap up this Monday evening…

  • Colts owner Jim Irsay will be hiring the team’s new general manager on his own, reports Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Since Irsay won’t be relying on other team officials, Florio believes Irsay will lean towards promoting executive Jimmy Raye III. The writer cites the owner’s familiarity with Raye, as well as the executive’s supposed willingness to stick with head coach Chuck Pagano.
  • The Bills have hired Chiefs assistant head coach/wide receivers coach David Culley as their new quarterbacks coach, reports Alex Marvez of The Sporting News (via Twitter). Culley spent more than a decade with the Eagles before joining Andy Reid and the Chiefs in 2013. We heard earlier tonight that the Chiefs had hired former Eagles wide receivers coach Greg Lewis for the same position.
  • Browns linebacker Jamie Collins received a four-year, $50MM extension earlier today. CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry believes the contract should serve as a “floor” for Collins former teammate, Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower (Twitter link). Corry notes that the Patriots will have a tough time convincing Hightower’s agent that the linebacker deserves less than the player they traded away.
  • Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley was close to being traded or cut during training camp, reports Gil Brandt of NFL.com (via Twitter). The fear of being let go apparently motivated the former first-rounder, as Beasley finished the season with 39 tackles, 15.5 sacks, and six forced fumbles.

Extra Points: RG3, Falcons, Panthers, Revis

Robert Griffin III took some criticism for putting himself in danger during the Browns‘ season-opener against the Eagles. On a third and 14, the speedy quarterback ran towards the sideline, where his ribs collided with Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills‘ helmet. The result? Well, if you haven’t heard, RG3 landed on the injured reserve.

Griffin explained the hit (and defended the play) to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com:

“It was just an unlucky situation. I got pushed in the back — maybe not the hardest push — but I was running full speed, and I didn’t have an opportunity to slide before that. I felt like I could get out of bounds. That didn’t happen. I watched the play. I did get pushed in the back, and at the last second, the defender (Mills) came off of Gary, and hit me and I didn’t have an opportunity (to protect myself). That’s why I think what happened happened, because I didn’t get a chance to truly protect myself and that’s when I got hit underneath my shoulder pad.

“(But) not everybody wants to look at that. They want the sexy story. They want to say that I’m not protecting myself. It’s just something that happened and it’s unfortunate.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Falcons outside linebacker Vic Beasley is on the “hot seat,” writes D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Despite playing 39 snaps in the team’s season-opener against the Buccaneers, Beasley didn’t compile a single tackle. The former eighth-overall pick understands that he needs to produce if he wants to stay on the field, and his coach is optimistic that he can be a force on the Falcons defense. “I’m looking for his arrow to be going up in this game,” said Dan Quinn. “He just didn’t perform the way he’s capable of. When those opportunities come up to go make a play, can we just nail the technique just right?”
  • The Panthers considered quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the first-overall pick in the 2011 draft, coach Ron Rivera told Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer. The team ultimately preferred Cam Newton, who impressed the organization during his pre-draft visit. “As you go through it, you look for certain things, certain characteristics. And probably the biggest difference was the situation Cam had been in, going through the adversity and then coming out on top,” Rivera said. “Cam was tremendously impressive, and Blaine did a nice job for us.”
  • The Jets need to handle the Darrelle Revis “problem” sooner than later, opines Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post. The cornerback has struggled through his team’s first two games, and while the writer doesn’t anticipate a move to safety, he believes the Jets may start double-teaming the opposition’s top target.