Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones walks off the field falling 23-7 to the Patriots during the Super Bowl rematch in a NFL football game on Sunday, October 22, 2017, in Foxborough. Curtis Compton/ Photo: Compton

Julio Jones won’t get a new contract as the Falcons are days before reporting to training camp.

Will the All-Pro wide receiver show up after he elected to stay away from all team activities this offseason? We’ll know on Wednesday.

The Falcons informed Jones they will not give him a desired raised, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed. The Falcons have not budgeted for a renegotiation this offseason and are focused on contract extensions for Grady Jarrett, Jake Matthews and Ricardo Allen. The news was first reported by The Athletic.

Jones was informed of the team’s decision several weeks ago, following the mandatory minicamp in June, the AJC has learned.

Jones was also told the team may be willing to rework his contract next year, one year before they typically work on extensions. Talks between the Falcons and Jones’ agent, Jimmy Sexton, are described as ongoing.

The Falcons are hopeful Jones will report to training camp. The team must report to training camp by 4 p.m. on Wednesday. The first practice is Thursday. Continue reading, by D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Don’t box in​ Kurt Coleman. Don’t call him a “free” or “strong” safety, or presuppose he enjoys being in the box on defense rather than playing center field, or leap to the conclusion that he’s more of a thumper than a ballhawk.

Just let the New Orleans Saints’ free agent signee play. “Playing football is where I’m comfortable,” Coleman said. “I’ve played under, I think, nine or 10 different defensive coordinators (in eight previous NFL seasons). So being able to have that wealth of knowledge – you have to be versatile whenever you go to different schemes.

“I’ve played both positions and I’ve done very well at both positions. And I think within this defense, it allows two safeties, three safeties, sometimes four safeties on the field at a time. So it creates havoc for the opposing team, and I think that’s the great thing about this defense is, it’s not just a, ‘This is the set defense.’

“We bring from a lot of different formations, a lot of different personnel groupings, and we change things up often. And it allows me to kind of play. The best thing about what I’m able to do is be a play-maker. Continue reading, by John DeShazier


Cam Newton spent a chunk of his summer working out with receivers — both his own and at least one high-profile wideout from another team.

But while Newton’s time with Antonio Brown and his annual throwing sessions with Panthers receivers and tight ends in Baltimore were a good way to stay sharp, Newton will reconnect with his most important workout partner next week in Spartanburg.

It’s tough to overstate the importance of Newton’s relationship with offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who was hired in large part to get Newton playing at a level closer to his 2015 MVP form.

Shortly after Turner replaced the fired Mike Shula, Newton told Panthers coach Ron Rivera he was excited and nervous to meet Turner because of the success he’d had with Troy Aikman, Philip Rivers and other quarterbacks. Continue reading, by  JOSEPH PERSON


Training camp is just around the corner as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin to prepare for the 2018 regular season. The rookies will report on July 23rd, while the veterans will report on July 25th. The first practice is scheduled for July 26th.

Every year, there are always surprises with certain teams, whether it be a player who outperformed expectations, or a player who underperformed. It’s almost certain Tampa Bay will have a few names on each side of the spectrum, and I am here to give my predictions on who may fall in these categories.

The first person I expect to exceed expectations is Vinny Curry. Curry is heading into his first season as a Buccaneer after spending the first six years of his career in Philadelphia. There are a few reasons why I think Curry will exceed expectations. The first being that he simply didn’t have a great opportunity to rush the passer the last few seasons because of the depth on the Eagles defensive line. According to Pro Football Focus, Curry ranked fifth among right defensive ends in total pressures with 45 and he did so in a lot less snaps than the players ahead of him. Curry did only have three sacks last season, but stats don’t always tell the full story and in this case they didn’t. In addition to his three sacks, Curry added 17 quarterback hits, which was a career high for him, per PFF.

The second reason I expect him to exceed expectations is because I really think that he will be able to exploit one-on-one matchups on the outside with Gerald McCoy and possibly even Jason Pierre-Paul constantly seeing double teams. When you take into account that Curry will be playing a lot more critical snaps then he did last season, it’s hard to imagine him not having an increase in all statistical categories. I think a fair expectation is somewhere between 6-8 sacks and 34-38 tackles. Both would be a huge increase from last season. Continue reading, by  

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