Vic Beasley

Falcons To Move On From Vic Beasley

This is the end of the line for the Falcons and Vic Beasley. On Monday, the club announced that they will not pursue a new deal with the defensive end, who is scheduled for free agency in March. 

As we continue to craft our 2020 roster, we’d like to thank Vic for five years of effort on behalf of our organization,” Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said in the statement.

Beasley, 27, just wrapped up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. The Falcons were hoping to see more from him in 2019, but he was unable to get back to his old form.

Beasley broke out in his sophomore year as pro, recording a league-high 15.5 sacks in 2016. However, things have cooled off ever since – he notched five sacks in 2017 and 2018. This past season, Beasley finished out with eight sacks, though that number was bolstered by a disproportionally strong finish in the final quarter of the regular season.

The Falcons will need to replace Beasley this offseason while potentially retooling the rest of their front seven. Fellow defensive end Adrian Clayborn is scheduled for free agency and defensive tackle Jack Crawford is also on an expiring deal.

They’ll have other issues to tackle as well. Among their top priority items – negotiating a new deal with tight end Austin Hooper, who is coming off of his best statistical season as a pro.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Tannehill, Texans, Falcons

The refrain during the final several weeks of the Titans‘ season pointed to either a Ryan Tannehill extension or franchise tag. But the resurgent team may not be entirely committed to the ex-Dolphin yet. The Titans have not decided Tannehill is worth a $27MM franchise tag or a franchise QB-level salary, Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com note. Tannehill is open to a long-term Titans deal, and the sides began discussing an extension late in the season. After the quarterback’s surprising stretch to help the team to the AFC title game, it would be surprising if he were allowed to hit the market. But the Titans do have Derrick Henry as a franchise tag candidate and four-year right tackle starter Jack Conklin set for free agency as well. The Titans have some major decisions to make in the next few weeks. Teams can use their franchise and transition tags this year, if there is no new CBA in place by the time the tag window opens February 25. Teams have from Feb. 25-March 10 to apply tags.

Here is the latest from the South divisions:

  • Among their free agents, Austin Hooper appears to be the Falcons‘ top priority. De’Vondre Campbell is on the team’s re-up radar as well. Vic Beasley‘s future in Atlanta is less certain. The former first-round pick earned All-Pro acclaim in 2016 but fell off the radar for years after that dominant season. “Well, Vic played at a different level in the back half of the year than the first half of the year,” Arthur Blank said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “What changed for him, I’m not exactly sure. And whether or not we can have that kind of consistency with him when it matters, only time will tell.” A trade candidate at the deadline, Beasley finished with four sacks in his final four games to record eight this season.
  • Falcons safety Ricardo Allen underwent shoulder surgery recently, Jason Butt of The Athletic tweets. The veteran defender played through a shoulder malady late in the season. He will require a multiple-month rehab process, which could delay his participation in the Falcons’ offseason program.
  • The Texans added multiple staffers to lower-level positions, bringing in Deon Broomfield as a defensive assistant and DeNarius McGhee as a quality control coach, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Broomfield coached cornerbacks at Indiana State for the past three years, while McGee coached quarterbacks and running backs at Montana State in that span.

NFC South Notes: JPP, Panthers, Falcons

Bruce Arians has understandably asserted Shaquil Barrett‘s all-time contract year will keep him with the Buccaneers but added the team wants to keep its other high-profile front-seven starters as well. Both Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh‘s contracts are up, but Arians said keeping both will be a top priority (Twitter link via Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com). The veteran HC may have indicated JPP resides slightly higher on the priority list as well, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (on Twitter). Pierre-Paul returned from another scary injury this season and has registered 8.5 sacks in 10 games, giving him 21 in two Bucs seasons. The Bucs hold a great deal of cap space, at $88.9MM, but will likely need to devote a chunk of that amount to Jameis Winston.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • If Greg Olsen opts to put off his broadcasting career for another year, he will likely need to relocate. The veteran tight end indicated recently he did not want to take part in a potential Panthers rebuild. While the franchise has not committed to charting that path, Joe Person of The Athletic expects Olsen to be elsewhere in 2020. “I just think sometimes the writing’s on the wall,” Olsen said, via Joe Person of The Athletic (subscription required). “There hasn’t been anything officially. But I wanted to make sure if that was my last time that I made sure I told the people that I needed to how much they meant on my career.” One year (at a $6.6MM base salary) remains on the 34-year-old tight end’s contract. Carolina would save $8.1MM by cutting Olsen, its top tight end for the past nine years.
  • Moving to a younger NFC South tight end, Austin Hooper acknowledged the Falcons have not yet made him an offer to stay, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Hooper, however, would like to return, and Thomas Dimitroff appeared to indicate the breakout tight end will be a priority (Twitter link via Ledbetter). We heard this earlier this season as well.
  • A Hooper return may lead De’Vondre Campbell elsewhere. The Falcons already gave a top-market contract to Deion Jones and are up against the salary cap. While noting he wants to stay in Atlanta, the Falcons’ top 2019 tackler acknowledged (via ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure) he may need to change teams. Although the Falcons will consider re-signing Campbell and Vic Beasley, Dimitroff did not commit to either’s return (via McClure, on Twitter).
  • Despite Breshad Perriman‘s end-of-season stretch potentially raising his free agency price, the Buccaneers‘ No. 3 wideout would like to stay in this high-octane offense. Perriman signed a one-year, $4MM deal with Tampa Bay, doing so after backing out of a Cleveland commitment following the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. The Bucs have Mike Evans on a high-end deal and will see Chris Godwin enter a contract year in 2020, perhaps pushing Perriman to another team.
  • A player the Panthers do not want on another team: James Bradberry. Carolina’s top cornerback met with GM Marty Hurney, and David Newton of ESPN.com notes the fourth-year corner received a “be patient” message from this summit. The Panthers want Bradberry back, Newton adds, but the former Round 2 pick would obviously prefer an upper-echelon deal to stay.

Trade Notes: Falcons, Bengals, Browns, Broncos, Jets, Redskins, Giants, Eagles, Bills, Packers

Teams continue to ask about Austin Hooper, whose 526 receiving yards sit 11th in the NFL entering Week 8. However, the Falcons have spurned suitors who’ve called about the emerging tight end, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Hooper is in a contract year, but the Falcons believe they have a chance to re-sign him. The Falcons, though, are the team doing the contacting regarding Vic Beasley. Atlanta is shopping its former All-Pro defensive end, who is playing out a $12.8MM fifth-year option. Pass rushers are obviously valuable, but with Beasley’s play having fallen off since that 2016 breakthrough, the return might not be what the Falcons seek.

Here is the latest from the trade market:

  • The Redskins continue to respond with hard nos when asked about Trent Williams, but Breer adds Josh Norman‘s name has been floated around. With Norman having not lived up to the $15MM-AAV contract he signed in 2016, it would be hard to imagine the Redskins getting much value for the eighth-year cornerback.
  • A cornerback performing better continues to look likelier to stay put. Chris Harris does not expect to be traded, and Troy Renck of Denver7 notes the Broncos are not as motivated to deal their four-time Pro Bowler as they were to ship out Emmanuel Sanders. A second-round pick would likely be necessary here, per Breer. Considering the Broncos’ issues finding corners as of late, dealing Harris would create a massive offseason need in Denver.
  • The Bengals are 0-7, and A.J. Green continues to come up in trade rumors. But the old-school organization isn’t budging. Mike Brown has not signed off on a firesale, Breer adds, instead preferring to provide first-year HC Zac Taylor with a foundation. That project is not going well so far, with the veteran-laden team performing poorly. Cincinnati’s potential trade chips also include franchise sack leaders Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. Neither appears to be a departure candidate. Tyler Eifert is a name Breer mentions could be dealt, but the tight end obviously has a significant injury history that would limit a return.
  • As for the expensive New York corners, Janoris Jenkins has generated more interest than Trumaine Johnson. The Giants have shopped Jenkins around some, per Breer, while Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes it would require “a miracle” for a team to take Johnson’s salary off the Jets‘ payroll. Jenkins is signed through 2020, with $5.37MM remaining in 2019 salary.
  • In addition to the Saints exploring receiver additions, the Bills, Eagles and Packers are as well, Breer notes. This could heat up the Robby Anderson market, but Breer adds Browns wideout Rashard Higgins has been discussed in advance of Tuesday’s deadline. The backup is in a contract year. However, Higgins has battled knee issues and has only played in one 2019 game.
  • With Mark Andrews having outproduced Hayden Hurst, the Ravens have received calls on their 2018 top pick. As of now, however, Hurst is not believed to be available, per Breer.

Latest On Falcons’ Trade Chips

If the Falcons had their way, they’d trade defensive end Vic Beasley. However, it sounds like wideout Mohamed Sanu might be tougher to pry away. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that rival teams could pursue either of these players from the 1-6 Falcons, but one would naturally be easier to acquire than the other.

According to Rapoport, teams tried to acquire Sanu during the draft, but the Falcons resisted those overtures. With the team struggling and Sanu playing in the second-to-last season of his contract, some have wondered if the receiver could be available. The 30-year-old would naturally be attractive to teams that need a wideout. After setting a career high with 838 receiving yards last season, Sanu has hauled in 33 receptions for 313 yards and one score in seven games this season.

Beasley’s availability makes a lot more sense, as the 27-year-old is still set to make more than $6.5MM through the rest of this season. Plus, his onfield production hasn’t justified the money; after Pro Football Focus graded Beasley as its worst full-time edge defender in 2018, the former first-rounder is struggling again in 2019. In seven games, Beasley has compiled 14 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

We heard earlier this month that impending free agents like Beasley, De’Vondre Campbell and Austin Hooper are on some teams’ radars. Projected to be more than $10MM over the 2020 cap, the Falcons will almost certainly have to let some of these UFAs-to-be walk if they are not traded. However, the Falcons could fetch 2021 compensatory picks for them, potentially complicating trade talks.

The trade deadline is next Tuesday, October 29th.

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Teams Identifying Falcons Trade Targets

While standout contract-year Broncos (and Von Miller) have cropped up in trade rumors, teams are also monitoring select Falcons. Atlanta has slunk to 1-4 and has a few key veterans on expiring contracts.

Vic Beasley, De’Vondre Campbell and Austin Hooper are on some teams’ radars, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. The Falcons gave megadeals to a defensive lineman (Grady Jarrett), a linebacker (Deion Jones) and a pass catcher (Julio Jones) this summer but have the above starters in contract years. This year’s trade deadline is Oct. 29.

Arthur Blank said the Falcons are not considering staff changes, but with this veteran team struggling (and the Redskins firing Jay Gruden), Dan Quinn‘s seat may be the NFL’s hottest. The Falcons are 8-13 since advancing to the divisional round in 2017, and they’ve gone through several coordinators since the Super Bowl LI collapse.

Pro Football Focus graded Beasley as its worst full-time edge defender in 2018. The site again has the 2015 first-round pick toward the bottom this season. Beasley (1.5 sacks, five QB hits) has nearly $10MM remaining on his 2019 fifth-year option, making a trade a tougher sell. The 27-year-old pass rusher was a 2016 All-Pro, however, after racking up 15.5 sacks during Atlanta’s NFC title slate.

Campbell has started alongside Jones since the duo’s 2016 rookie season, rates as PFF’s No. 33 off-ball linebacker and is finishing out a fourth-round contract. Less than $2MM remains on Campbell’s 2019 salary. He has made a Falcons-best 48 tackles and forced two fumbles this season. Finishing up a third-round contract, Hooper has served as the Falcons’ top tight end for multiple seasons. His 363 yards in 2019 rank third among tight ends.

Projected to be more than $10MM over the 2020 cap, the Falcons will almost certainly have to let some of these UFAs-to-be walk if they are not traded. The Falcons could fetch 2021 compensatory picks for them, however, depending on their 2020 free agency activity.

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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.

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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.

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