PHOENIX—The Falcons are hoping to strike contract extensions with two of their top players while preparing to part ways with a starter from their Super Bowl 51 squad.
Speaking with co-host Vic Carucci and me Tuesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team should have a new deal done with cornerback Desmond Trufant “very soon.” Dimitroff also said the team was “confident that something can get wrapped up” with running back Devonta Freeman later this year.
Conversely, right guard Chris Chester isn’t in Atlanta’s plans for 2017. The Falcons are expecting Chester, 34, to soon announce he is retiring.
Chester started every game the past two seasons for Atlanta after spending the previous four years in Washington. He played his first five NFL seasons with the Ravens and has 143 career starts to his credit. He is an unrestricted free agent.
“If I were betting on it, I’d say it’s time for him to make his move to the next part of his life,” Dimitroff said. “He was a really good asset for us, of course. He helped solidify that (interior line) with (center) Alex Mack and (left guard) Andy Levitre.”
There is no clear-cut replacement for Chester. Potential candidates include 2016 sixth-round draft pick Wes Schweitzer and offseason free-agent signings Hugh Thornton (Colts), Ben Garland (Broncos) and Trevor Robinson (Chargers).
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Trufant, who suffered a season-ending pectoral injury midway through last season, is considered Atlanta’s top cornerback. He is set to earn $8 million this season in the final year of the rookie contract signed as a first-round draft pick in 2013.
The Falcons also have Freeman under contract in 2017 for $1.84 million; however, Freeman and his agent Kristin Campbell went public with their expectations for a new deal before Atlanta’s Super Bowl loss to New England.
Dimitroff described his conversations with Campbell as “good” and “candid.”
“We will address this,” Dimitroff said. “When you look at our history, we address these situations going into training camp. I’m throwing that out there as a general timeline. I don’t know when that exactly will be, but I’m confident that something can get wrapped up and he’s going to be part of us for years to come.
“He represents our style of running — urgency, competitive and passionate. It’s fun to watch him as it is (running back) Tevin Coleman.”
Freeman is coming off two straight 1,000-yard, 11-touchdown rushing seasons.
Alex Marvez can be heard from 7-10 p.m. Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.