According to D. Orlando Ledbetter, the Falcons will not be bringing back offensive guard Ben Garland for the 2019 season. This coming from a source familiar with his status.
In Garland’s three seasons with the birds, he’s been a Swiss army knife both on and off the field. As an Air force graduate and current National Guard member, he was nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2017 because of his outreach on the community and the following year he won the NFL’s Salute to Service Award.
On the field, Garland began his career in Atlanta as a reserve defensive tackle in 2016, helping the team to the Super Bowl with three QB hits, two tackles for loss and a sack in the playoffs. By 2017, he was back to his more normal guard position and started in the playoffs because of Andy Levitre’s season-ending injury. This past year he got even more work in as a backup guard due to both Brandon Fusco and Andy Levitre hitting IR by week eight.
Garland was an effective run-blocker, but his failures in pass protection made him expendable. Among the Falcons top priorities is finding bodies who can protect Matt Ryan, and Garland was not cutting it in that area. Because of his high-character, versatility, and experience, he should be able to find a role with another team.
We wish him the best.