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Falcons in a holding pattern with 2021 draft class, one that may last until training camp

The new front office is “enjoying” a unique first offseason.

NFL: Altanta Falcons OTA Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons have a promising rookie class, one that figures to deliver as many as 3-4 immediate starters and could feature nine 2021 contributors. That’s probably a little optimistic, given that things rarely work out that well, but this team has significant needs and they brought in a quality haul. I’m excited to see them all in action.

Those that are in action right now are out there without contracts, which sounds like it may continue for a bit. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler dropped some scuttlebutt this morning about Julio Jones wanting to go to a contender and seeking a strong-armed quarterback, but also noted the Falcons are telling agents there may still be a bit of a wait on their rookie deals.

NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche, who has deep ties to Atlanta and the Falcons organization and is thus worth paying close attention to, has now indicated more than once that trade talks could drag out until training camp. In a snippet from his most recent report below, he was more emphatic that A) Julio won’t be at minicamp and B) a deal is likely to be done right before training camp kicks off.

If the Falcons aren’t panicking, then there’s no sense in us doing so, and the clear hope is that they’ll get more serious offers ahead of training camp as teams take stock of their talent, any potential injuries suffered in June, and clear away cap space of their own. If the team can find the right deal, it’ll be followed by a mad rush to sign their rookies before camp opens so they have the security of a contract before taking the practice field, something many of them would probably prefer to have right now. If the team can’t get a deal done, it’s going to come down to a Grady Jarrett re-structure or extension and possibly some cuts around the margins of the roster, and the Falcons will now have more than a month to start getting those contingency plans in order.

This has been somewhat of a ridiculous first offseason for the new regime, which was underwater in terms of cap space heading into the spring and is navigating a Julio Jones trade situation it may or may not have helped create. All we’ll ultimately remember about it is how well they handle it, and whether the months and months of endless Julio rumors result in an actual, quality deal for the Atlanta Falcons. The rookie class, meanwhile, will unfortunately have to wait a bit longer to sign their first NFL deals.