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Falcons make it clear they’re looking for Matt Ryan, Julio Jones’ successors


Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot has a tough task ahead of him, but he’s got his eye on the future at two key spots.

The Atlanta Falcons, coming off a 4-12 season and in a tough spot in relation to the salary cap, are in a tough spot. New general manager Terry Fontenot has a tough task ahead of him, trying to rebuild a roster with some notable veterans still in place.

Quarterback Matt Ryan will turn 36 in May, and wide receiver Julio Jones just turned 32. The idea of the Falcons trading either or both of them this offseason is interesting, but not necessarily likely or practical.

Fontenot has said he plans to always add a quarterback, following a path paved years ago by former Packers’ general manager Ron Wolf. The fourth overall pick in April’s draft will present an opportunity to add Ryan’s successor. But Fontenot does not intend to stop there to bolster the depth of talent on offense.

Fontenot is keeping an eye on Falcons’ future

Fontenot told Albert Breer of SI.com wide receivers will be on his radar too.

“The question I get a lot is, ‘Hey, would you be willing to draft a quarterback, would you be willing to draft a receiver, despite how strong your receivers are or where you are with Matt Ryan?’” Fontenot said. “And yes. Yes, yes, yes. We’re definitely going to acquire at both of those positions, and we’re going to work hard to bring in competition. But I hold both those guys in high regard.”

With Calvin Ridley, coming off a breakthrough season (90 catches for 1,374 yards), the Falcons really already have Jones’ successor as their No. 1 wide receiver. But looking beyond Jones, who missed seven games last season as he dealt with a lingering hamstring issue, there are question marks. So Fontenot’s desire to add competition there has merit.

Ryan and Jones are all but surely staying put with the Falcons in 2021. But the guys who will eventually replace them will probably be added in the draft, as long as Fontenot finds the right opportunities.



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