Atlanta Falcons: Adding Players, Preparing For Fre Agency
The Atlanta Falcons are already making moves to improve their roster, given the fact that the Scouting Combine is in the rear view mirror and free agency is less than a month away.
March 10th to be exact.
According to Jay Adams and the team website, the Falcons today announced that they have signed fullback Patrick DiMarco and defensive end Cliff Matthews to contract extensions. The club has also signed wide receiver Nick Williams.
DiMarco, 6-1, 240 pounds, was originally signed by the San Diego Chargers as a college free agent out of South Carolina following the 2011 NFL Draft. He spent the 2012 season with the Kansas City Chiefs before being signed to the Falcons practice squad in 2013. In two seasons in Atlanta, DiMarco has played in 30 games with 14 starts while logging 17 receptions for 111 yards and one touchdown.
Matthews, 6-4, 275 pounds, was selected by the Falcons in the sixth round (230th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Falcons, he has appeared in 32 games, primarily on special teams. Last season, Matthews saw action in seven games while totaling six tackles (four solo) on defense and adding three special teams tackles.
Williams, 5-10, 184 pounds, was originally signed by the Washington Redskins as college free agent out of the University of Connecticut following the 2013 NFL Draft. He played in five games as a receiver and returner during his rookie campaign in 2013. Williams played in 42 games at UCONN where he caught 43 passes for 588 yards and two touchdowns. He set a school record for career kickoff return yards (2,045) and ranks second in yards per return (25.9). Additionally, Williams is the only player in UConn history with at least two kickoff returns and two punt returns for touchdowns in a career.
MAKING A PLAY FOR THOMAS
A report from NFL.com and Chris Wesseling have the Falcons and the Jaguars as potential destinations for Broncos tight end Julius Thomas, should he test the free agent waters.
The Jaguars will be "among the most aggressive pursuers," writes Mike Klis of the Denver Post. The Florida Times-Union agrees that Thomas is a "perfect fit" for a Jags offense desperately in need of a premier red-zone threat.
Broncos’ general manager John Elway now appears willing to let Thomas test his value on the open market. There are questions in Denver about the former college hoops star's injury history as well as his fit in Gary Kubiak's scheme that requires tight ends to do more blocking on cutback runs.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution believes the Falcons will also be interested in Thomas, which jibes with scuttlebutt at the NFL Scouting Combine late last week.
Levine Toilolo proved to be an unworthy successor to Tony Gonzalez last season, while Thomas became the first tight end in NFL history with at least 12 touchdowns in back-to-back years.