Falcons' Dimitroff not ruling out another signing
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP)
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Wednesday he likes what he has seen of his team through offseason workouts.
As the Falcons prepare to end offseason training activities ending on Friday and hold a mandatory minicamp next week, Dimitroff said he and coach Mike Smith are happy with the team.
''I'm very encouraged by our building in the offseason and our focus on re-signing our players and going out in the market and signing two free agents in Steven Jackson and Osi Umenyiora and then finishing up our building process this offseason with what we feel is a very productive draft class,'' Dimitroff told The Associated Press.
''We think we've got a number of very good athletes that kind of have our makeup as far as a combination of good, urgent athleticism and drive to be the best that they can be. So I'm excited about that. I know that Smitty is excited about that. I feel that we're in a really good place right now.''
The Falcons have apparent interest in defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who began his career in New England when Dimitroff was the Patriots' director of college scouting.
Seymour, 33, had 15 tackles and three sacks in eight games with Oakland last season and is one of the most prominent names among unsigned free agents.
Dimitroff said the Falcons are among teams who believe Seymour can still be productive, but he said ''there's nothing new'' on possible talks between the Falcons and the veteran defensive lineman.
''Richard is a fine football player and I think everyone believes he still has legitimate gas left in the tank,'' Dimitroff said. ''It will be interesting to see where he ends up in the league this year.''
Seymour has 57.5 career sacks and would provide help to Atlanta's pass rush if he joins Jonathan Babineaux in the middle of the Falcons' defensive front.
Seymour's agent, Eugene Parker, did not return a message on Wednesday.
The Falcons released Abraham, running back Michael Turner, cornerback Dunta Robinson and offensive tackle Tyson Clabo after the season. Longtime center Todd McClure retired, and cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Christopher Owens left as free agents.
Umenyiora is seen as the immediate replacement for Abraham. Dimitroff added two defensive ends in the middle rounds of this year's draft - Malliciah Goodman of Clemson and Stansly Maponga of Texas Christian.
Cornerback Desmond Trufant, Atlanta's first-round pick, joined OTAs on Tuesday after completing classes at the University of Washington.
Dimitroff is still working on contracts for Trufant, second-round pick Robert Alford, a cornerback, and seventh-round pick Sean Renfree, a quarterback.
Then there is the bigger contract awaiting quarterback Matt Ryan, whose six-year, $66 million rookie deal expires after the 2013 season. Ryan could land a long-term deal worth at least $100 million.
''Obviously if both parties have their druthers it would be to have this taken care of before the season,'' Dimitroff said.
Dimitroff said the Falcons, from owner Arthur Blank to Smith, ''are all very impressed with how Matt has handled himself over the years.
''He will in fact be our quarterback for many years to come. We all believe he is our franchise quarterback and when the time is right we will swiftly move in and get a deal agreed upon.''
Asked if it would be easier to make decisions on signing another free agent if he first completed the new deal for Ryan, Dimitroff said ''Yeah, I guess so.
''We can be very creative with how we put the team together,'' he said. ''That's always very important as we continue to build this football team, whether it's adding another piece or not. We're very cognizant of our fiscal responsibility here.''