- According to the Athletic’s Greg Auman, Buccaneers’ CB Ryan Smith‘s four-game suspension helps CB De’Vante Harris‘ chances of making the final roster.
The Falcons are excited about the potential for a fully-healthy season from RB Devonta Freeman, who played in only two games in 2018 after successive knee and groin injuries.
“Free looked terrific,” HC Dan Quinn said via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s is good to see (No.) 24 back. The energy that he brings to the team and his quickness. It was a very difficult year for him. To see the natural Free come back has been good to see.”
With former No. 2 RB Tevin Coleman departing in free agency for San Francisco, the Falcons will turn to 2018 fourth-round RB Ito Smith to shoulder the backup load behind Freeman this year. Smith saw significant action as a rookie and the Falcons feel comfortable with him replacing Coleman this year.
“Again, he showed that the moment was not too big,” Falcons RB coach David Brock said. “He had some really big runs for us. Had some great touchdown runs for us. We are anticipating him having a terrific group.”
- Jason Butt of The Athletic writes that the Falcons signed OL James Carpenter and Jamon Brown prior to the 2019 NFL Draft in case first-round G Chris Lindstrom and OT Kaleb McGary need some time to develop.
- Butt could see the Falcons signing a veteran pass rusher now that they finalized an extension with DT Grady Jarrett.
- Butt expects Falcons RB Devonta Freeman getting the “bulk of the carries and snaps” since he is being “paid like a premier running back.”
- As for Freeman’s 2019 production, Butt believes he could have a “huge year statistically” if he can stay healthy.
Falcons DT Grady Jarrett‘s four-year, $68 million extension makes him the third-highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL. That type of contract comes with new, sometimes unspoken expectations related to performance, but Jarrett says he’s not worried about the pressure. He said he’s “always hungry” to keep improving as a player and help realize what he called a “sky’s the limit” season for the Falcons.
“I don’t have to prove that I’m worth it. My proof is in what I do week in and week out,” Jarrett said via 92.9 The Game. “I’m thankful for the deal I got, but there’s no more pressure, no more expectation that anybody could have than the one that I have for myself.”