According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Falcons will not exercise the fifth-year option on Hayden Hurst, making him a free agent in 2022.
The Atlanta Falcons are not exercising the fifth-year option on tight end Hayden Hurst, per source. He’ll be a free agent in 2022.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 3, 2021
NFL teams have until the end of the day today — May 3rd — to exercise or decline 2018 first-round picks’ fifth-year options. Terry Fontenot said a few days ago that he wanted to talk to Calvin Ridley and Hurst before exercising their fifth-year options; the latter would’ve cost $5,428,000 against next year’s cap. Hurst’s ‘basic’ designation is the lowest tiered fifth-year option, but Fontenot clearly sees him as expendable.
Basic: Players who do not meet any of the requirements below will be eligible for a fifth year base salary calculated from the average of the 3rd to 25th highest salaries at their position over the past five seasons
Hurst is one of the worst blocking tight ends in the league, which doesn’t bode well in Arthur Smith’s offense. The combination of Hurst’s inability to consistently block and the team spending the fourth overall pick on Kyle Pitts has rendered the former South Carolina Gamecock’s services useless. He’s the first player at his position to see his fifth-year option declined since 2011.
The Falcons traded for Hurst, sending one of their second round picks to the Ravens last offseason for his services. However, that was the old regime. If they were still around, I could have seen them picking up Hurst’s fifth-year option, but the new regime doesn’t have any skin in the game, and they will likely move on from him after the 2021 season.