The salary-cap dust has settled in the wake of Falcons’ $103.75 million deal with quarterback Matt Ryan, but the team is not rushing to sign defensive tackle Richard Seymour.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, normally guarded about the team’s finances, told Alge Crumpler of the team’s flagship station, 790 The Zone, that the Falcons have as much as $7 million in salary-cap space. That number is higher than what is reflected in the NFLPA documents.
“We’re not jumping in to spend money because we have a few bucks in our pocket right now,” Dimitroff told Crumpler and D.J. Shockley, a former Falcons player.
Crumpler, a former Pro Bowl tight end with the team, then asked, “How much do ‘we’ have to work with?”
“Our space right now, has been reported as high 6s, low 7s millions is what I’m saying,” Dimitroff said.
A lot of fans have wanted the Ryan deal to get completed, so that the Falcons could pursue Seymour, a seven-time Pro Bowler and former Georgia standout. The team had offseason talks with Seymour, but they fell through.
“Again, our focus right now is to make sure that we get through preseason here,” Dimitroff said. “I know there is a lot of talk about Richard, and Richard is a fine man. There is no more discussion here at this point about having him in here.
He then hedged his comments with a “but never, say never.”
Jones bigger: Here’s a potentially worrisome thought for NFL defensive backs: Wide receiver Julio Jones, already possessing an elite size/speed combination in his first two seasons, says he’s bigger, stronger and just as fast for 2013.
Jones said he cut out beef and pork from his diet, and the new regimen is “working great.” After playing at about 220 pounds during his first two seasons, Jones said he’s up to 229 now with no loss of speed or quickness.
“I run around great,” he said. “I don’t get tired.”
Jones’ performance in training camp bears that out. He looks just as quick and explosive carrying the extra weight.
The Falcons traded draft picks to move up in the 2011 draft to select Jones with the sixth pick. Jones had 79 receptions for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns last season and earned his first Pro Bowl selection.
Biermann cross-training: Defensive end/linebacker Kroy Biermann is spending a lot of time with linebackers coach Glenn Pires through the first six days of training camp.
Coupled with the fact that Osi Umenyiora said he’s learning how to play linebacker, a reasonable football mind could conclude that the Falcons are gearing to play more 3-4 alignments this season.
Over the past five seasons, Biermann spent most of his practice time with defensive line coach Ray Hamilton.
“He’s always been a versatile guy for us,” Pires said. “You’ve seen him in base and (nickel). He’s always played a lot of different positions. Kind of what he’s doing right now is really nothing new. He’s always been a versatile guy — first, second and third down. He’s really just getting better and picking up where he left off.”
Biermann played 681 defensive snaps (67 percent) and 301 special-teams snaps (69 percent) last season as he almost hit the 1,000-play mark. The only defensive players with more snaps were safety Thomas DeCoud (1,158) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (997).
Biermann played some outside linebacker last season and dropped into coverage at times. He also was the second most productive pass rusher with five sacks and 12 quarterback hits.
“He does everything,” Hamilton said. “He’s still one of our best pass rushers off the edge. He’s very effective in getting around the quarterback, and he made some big plays last year. We are depending on him again to do the same thing.”
Injury report: Fullback Bradie Ewing and running back Antone Smith will miss five to 10 days of practice with unspecified injuries, coach Mike Smith said.
Also, cornerback Saeed Lee, an undrafted free agent from Alabama State, left the evening practice with what appeared to be a serious right leg injury.
Ewing, a fifth-round draft pick in 2012, missed all of last season with a knee injury.