Dimitroff: Ryan's deal shifts focus to resigning Jarrett, Matthews

John and Hugh
May 07, 2018 - 9:14 am

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Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff joined The Morning Show with John and Hugh on Monday to talk about the 2018 draft class, Matt Ryan’s new contract and other offseason storylines.

There have been many quarterback deals over the offseason, most notably was Kirk Cousins three-year, $84 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings. Going into a contract negotiating period with Matt Ryan, Dimitroff acknowledged that they did operate off the market.

“Looking at the whole setup and trying to be creative moving into the future, you look at deals like [Jimmy] Garoppolo and Kirk Cousins, you have to use those as points of reference," said Dimitroff. "Then you take where Matt has been over the years; many, many years of consistency.” Dimitroff points out Ryan’s MVP year and Super Bowl appearance as other factors when negotiating his new five-year contract with $100 million in guarantees. “He’s such an important part of this organization that we had a very good idea where we were going to land with the money. Is it high in the world [of money], no question about it. In months to come, will someone go by Matt Ryan? I’m sure that will happen.”

The Falcons have made other moves in the offseason, bringing in guys like offensive lineman Brandon Fusco, tight end Logan Paulsen and a specialist on special teams, Justin Bethel. They’ve also resigned guys of their own. Now that Ryan’s deal is done, will they dive back into free agency, potentially targeting another defensive tackle?

“We felt we had a very productive draft," said the Falcons' GM. "We thought we were smart with our free agency moves. We did some deals with some of our guys, bringing back people that we thought were really important along the line in [Derrick] Shelby, and Brooks Reed. We’re looking forward to getting back Jack Crawford from an injury. We’re not just going to spend money just because we see someone out there; we really need to look at the system.” He pointed out that even though Matt Ryan’s deal is done, there are other players within the organization that are on the horizon for new contracts including Grady Jarrett and Jake Matthews.

Going back to the draft, Dimitroff said that this year more than any other year, they had five or six guys that they were targeting, in all different positions, at No. 26 overall.

“It was one of the reasons we weren’t thinking ‘move up, move up, move up," said Dimitroff. "This was the year that I really felt like value wise we could stay put and get a very good football player.”

Along with the free agency acquisition of cornerback Justin Bethel to bolster special teams, the Falcons drafted wide receiver Russell Gage in the sixth round of the 2018 draft. Dimitroff said there was an emphasis on upgrading the coverage units.

“People were thinking 'Why another receiver?’ [Gage] is a special teams cover guy first," said Dimitroff. "We’re really focused on him teaming with Bethel on the teams units, making some serious end roads for us. That’s a very important part to getting us in the right place so that we can operate both offensively and defensively."

Rookie minicamp is rolling out this coming weekend, May 11-13. Dimitroff said making an impression early could land one of these guys a starting job.

“Being in great shape; being explosive, urgent, athletic, all the things that we preach, and catch an eye early. It allows our coaching staff to think ‘Look, this is a full on competition for the starting spot.”