Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Thursday:
1. Gameday. The Falcons open their exhibition season against the Miami Dolphins at 7 p.m. tonight at Hard Rock Stadium. Quarterback Matt Ryan is slated to play, while wide receivers Julio Jones (foot) and Taylor Gabriel (lower leg) will be held out. Jones and Gabriel will warm-up.
2. Freeman’s big pay day. Under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons have made it a practice to re-sign their core players. If players produce on the field, they are rewarded monetarily with a contract extension. Running back Devonta Freeman, who was set to make $1.838 million on the last year of his rookie contract, agreed to a five-year, $41.25 million contract extension Wednesday.
3. Fans reaction. Here’s what fans across the League had to say about Freeman’s contract which made him the highest paid running back in the NFL.
4. Garland to start. Ben Garland will start at right guard against the Dolphins. Garland and Wes Schweitzer are battling to replace former starting right guard Chris Chester, who retired over the offseason.
5. Where to watch, listen to the game. Television stations to watch the Falcons first exhibition game can be found below. The game can also be watched using NFL Game Pass and can be heard on 92.9 The Game.