Atlanta Falcons: Chase Coffman

Franchise/transition tags: Falcons

February, 17, 2014
Feb 17
8:00
AM ET
The franchise tag might have entered into play for the Atlanta Falcons this season had Matt Ryan's contract been an issue.

It isn't.

The quarterback was locked up prior to last season with a five-year, $103.75 million contract extension that included $59 million guaranteed. It kept 2013 from being the final year of his original six-year, $72 million rookie contract ($34.74 million guaranteed).

In others words, it won't be a concern for the Falcons once the first day for designating the franchise tag on a player comes Monday. The last time the Falcons used the franchise tag was on cornerback Brett Grimes in 2012 -- at a one-year price of $10.28 million -- as the two sides were unable to reach a long-term deal. Grimes, who suffered a season-ending Achilles' injury that year, now faces the possibility of being tagged again as the member of the Miami Dolphins.

As for the Falcons, they have no reason to designate a franchise player this year among a group of impending unrestricted free agents that includes defensive tackles Jonathan Babineaux, Peria Jerry and Corey Peters. Some of the others bound for free agency include center Joe Hawley, tight end Chase Coffman and offensive tackle Mike Johnson. Free agency officially begins at 4 p.m. on March 11, although teams are allowed to negotiating with agents of players on other teams on March 9.

Maybe the franchise tag comes into play for the Falcons again if for some reason they can't get top receiver Julio Jones signed to a long-term deal before the 2015 season.

The deadline for designating franchise or transition players is 4 p.m. March 3. Eight players were slapped with the franchise tag last season.

Once a team designates a franchise player, it has until July 15 to work out a long-term extension with that player.

And once again, that shouldn't apply to the Falcons this year.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, who missed the past two days of practice with a toe injury, returned to the field Friday and is questionable for Sunday’s matchup against Tampa Bay.

Gonzalez
Gonzalez injured a toe on his left foot during last Sunday’s 33-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He appeared to be a bit hobbled when he walked through the locker room on Friday but gave the thumbs up. His participation in Friday’s practice was limited.

Gonzalez hasn’t missed a game since the 2006 season with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Falcons gave the 37-year-old tight end most of training camp off to prepare his body for the regular season.

If Gonzalez is unable to go, rookie Levine Toilolo and veteran Chase Coffman would have to contribute at tight end. Both Toilolo and Coffman spent extra time following Friday’s practice working on their route-running while being defended by linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

Wide receiver Harry Douglas also returned to the field Friday after missing Thursday’s practice with a knee injury. Head coach Mike Smith said Douglas should be ready to go Sunday.

Weatherspoon, recently activated from injured reserve after suffering a Week 2 Lisfranc foot sprain, will be in the starting lineup against the Buccaneers after practicing all week. He is expected to start alongside undrafted rookie linebackers Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu, if the Falcons open the game in their base defense.

The only Falcons player ruled out for Sunday’s game was rookie defensive end Malliciah Goodman, who was sidelined all week with a calf injury.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White and running back Steven Jackson remained sidelined during Friday's practice, the last day of preparation for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.

White
White
While Jackson seems more than likely to miss his fourth-straight game with a hamstring injury, White's status remains unclear. He apparently has missed all week of practice in the past yet still played in a game. Right now, White is nursing a hamstring injury as well as a high-ankle sprain.

White has played in 133 consecutive games, so his streak could be in jeopardy. Coach Mike Smith could address the injuries following Friday's practice.

Also sidelined during Friday's session were left tackle Sam Baker (knee) and tight end Chase Coffman (knee).

Linebacker Akeem Dent was in practice gear with a helmet for the second consecutive day coming off an ankle injury. Running back Jason Snelling has had full participation in practice this week coming off a concussion.
FLOWERY BRANCH, GA. -- Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson again took the practice field as a spectator on Wednesday while he continues to recover from a Week 2 hamstring injury.

Jackson's return remains a question mark. He previously stated he wouldn't return until 100 percent healthy, although Jackson expressed hope about returning shortly after this past weekend's bye.

Also not dressed for practice were left tackle Sam Baker (knee), tight end Chase Coffman (knee), and linebacker Akeem Dent (ankle).

Receiver Roddy White, who was spotted with his left hamstring wrapped during open locker room, was not on the field for the viewing portion of practice. He is still recovering from a high-ankle sprain as well.

The injury report listed Jackson, White, Baker, Coffman and Dent as all held out of practice.

Running back Jason Snelling had full participation in practice coming off a concussion.

In Tampa, guard Carl Nicks is out following foot surgery while running back Jeff Demps didn't participate due to a groin injury. Receiver Mike Williams (hamstring), guard Davin Joseph (knee), and defensive end Da'Quan Bowers (toe) were all limited.

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