A source with knowledge of the situation tells Profootballtalk the Falcons and Matt Ryan are engaged in "casual" extension talks, and that negotiations are expected to intensify after July 4.
There's no real urgency to get a deal done, though extending Ryan could theoretically free up the money to sign DT Richard Seymour. That would depend on the deal's structure, of course. Ryan's current cap number is $12 million. It's unknown how much Ryan is seeking, but there's every reason to believe he'll look to breach the $20 million annually barrier, and try to eclipse the $52 million guaranteed Joe Flacco took home.
Falcons WLB Sean Weatherspoon (knee scope) and OLB Stephen Nicholas (sports-hernia surgery) are participating in minicamp.
It's unclear if they're taking part in team drills, but it's a sign both remain on track for training camp. Weatherspoon notched 95 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble and one interception despite appearing in just 13 games last season.
Falcons signed TE Colin Cloherty to a two-year contract.
A 2009 undrafted free agent out of Brown, Cloherty has spent the majority of his NFL time on the practice squads of the Colts, 49ers and Jaguars. He has five career regular-season catches. Cloherty will be a camp body while Tony Gonzalez takes it easy in August.
Falcons signed second-round CB Robert Alford to a four-year contract.
The 60th pick in the draft, Alford is considered raw coming out of SE Louisiana, but he possesses blinding speed and explosive all-around athleticism. It'll be interesting to see whether he pushes for rookie-year snaps. Currently, the Falcons have penciled in Desmond Trufant and Asante Samuel at outside corner. Robert McClain was a revelation at slot cornerback last season.
Steven Jackson is expecting his receptions to spike in Atlanta.
Jackson averaged 42.0 receptions per year over the last three seasons in St. Louis, but once caught 90 balls back in 2006. "As things In St. Louis went downhill, I was an in-between-the-tackles runner. I wasn't working on the things in my toolbox," he said. Atlanta's pass-happy offense will allow Jackson to become a major part of the passing game again while simultaneously reducing the wear on his body. "The offense starts with Matt [Ryan]," S-Jax said. "I will get the bulk of my carries in the second half. In the first half, I would imagine the majority of my touches will be receiving the ball."
Mike Johnson has been working as the first-team right tackle at OTAs.
In the battle to replace Tyson Clabo, Johnson has his nose in front of Lamar Holmes. Perhaps the Falcons prefer the more efficient pass blocker over the heavier, mauling Holmes. The competition will continue into training camp.
Second-year pro Peter Konz is expected to be the Falcons' starting center this season.
The 2012 second-rounder is replacing Todd McClure. Konz is facing light competition from Joe Hawley, but coach Mike Smith has made it clear the job is his to lose. "That was the plan when we drafted him," said Smith. Konz struggled at guard last season, so he'll still have to show well in camp to lock things up.