The Falcons made an interesting move yesterday by releasing Jaylinn Hawkins, and we’ve been informed of the corresponding roster move. Micah Abernathy was elevated from Atlanta’s practice squad, per the team’s website.
Moreover, Arnold Tre Tarpley, who is a former USFL safety, is signing with the Falcons, according to Aaron Wilson. I assume it’s to fill the void for Abernathy or Josh Miles — who was poached by the Giants — on the practice squad.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Arthur Smith made a comment about the roster move to release Hawkins, and I find it interesting.
Arthur Smith on releasing Jaylinn Hawkins: "I have a lot of respect for Hawk. I wish him the best in future." … "Circumstances change."
Added it's an opportunity for someone like Micah Abernathy.
— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) October 18, 2023
It’s strange to part ways with a guy who was a starter last year and was a high-quality backup this year. Maybe, there’s something else to it because replacing him with a practice squad player doesn’t pass the smell test.
On the other hand, I said this exact same thing when the Falcons released Mykal Walker in favor of an undrafted free agent in Nate Landman and a special teamer in Tae Davis.
Walker was a starter last year and provided the most experience among backups. In Troy Andersen’s absence, Landman has proved the coaching staff right. He’s stepped in seamlessly, and I could even argue that the UDFA has performed better in certain facets than the second-round pick.
That certainly could be the case here with Hawkins. He’s played in all six games but primarily on special teams. The 2020 fourth-round pick has taken 29 (8%) defensive snaps and 125 (81%) on special teams.
Abernathy won’t take those snaps, though. It will be the rookie seventh-round pick DeMarcco Hellams, who has already slowly been integrated into Ryan Nielsen’s defense.
Abernathy did get some burn this past week against the Commanders, playing on 18 (75%) of the Falcons’ special-teams snaps. We’ll surely see an uptick in those snaps.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire