Falcons: Offseason moves ticker

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We said goodbye to a few long-tenured Falcons today, but there’s no way this team is done making moves yet. Follow along here to find all the updates on the cuts Atlanta makes with a new CBA in place.


Minor Weekend Tweaks

3/14 ~ 4:29 PM: Team announces they are inking FB Keith Smith


Smith is coming back to Atlanta on a modest three-year, $4.3 million deal with $1.95 million guaranteed. Hopefully, this is a sign the team is going to commit more to the run game.

3/15 ~ 6:40 PM: Falcons officially announce they’re bringing back one of the lone bright spots on the defense – DT Tyeler Davison

I like this contract — Davison doesn’t provide a whole lot in terms of an interior pass rush, but he’s a bargain at three years, $12 million with only $4.5 million guaranteed. I wrote about how this move could impact Atlanta’s future draft plans.


Black Monday Firesale


3/16 ~ 6:57 AM: It’s reported that Atlanta plans to move on from Pro Bowl CB Desmond Trufant

Chase gave us a brief rundown on this move and the potential financial impact, and I provided some insight earlier this offseason on why we shouldn’t release Trufant. However, a decision has been made and it could have something to do with Post-June 1st cuts being a thing again now that a new CBA is in place. As things stand today, the Falcons secondary looks atrocious. They’ll be drafting a couple of cornerbacks this April.

3/16 ~ 9:52 AM: A long time coming – Devonta Freeman will no longer be in Red & Black

A move that was doomed since the start and one of the most disappointing contract tenures in franchise history has finally come to an end. An injury-plagued and ineffective mess since the Super Bowl loss, Devonta Freeman has been released as anticipated. There were whispers earlier this year about him being a potential cap casualty, and after the Falcons mishandled the trade opportunity they had before the deadline, Freeman will be gone before camp. Like Trufant, he could be a Post-June 1st, saving the Falcons an extra $3 million ($6.5 million in total).

3/16 ~ 9:59 AM: Report that Falcons swing tackle & impromptu tight end Ty Sambrailo will be cut

This move is anything but a surprise. Garafolo reported this, and the team made it official not five minutes later. Harrison gave us some insight on the transaction, but $3.7 million in the landscape of the Falcons’ very limited cap space is a substantial difference. He’ll always have one of the best plays from a horrible 2019 season, though — the longest TD reception by a lineman since 1970. At least the offense had *some* creativity last season.

3/16 ~ 10:40 AM: Justin Hardy will be playing elsewhere in 2020

No surprise here, as Harrison mentioned, Hardy didn’t even manage to crack the rotation after Mo Sanu was traded. Russell Gage is much more promising, and there’s no point in handing Hardy a contract to produce as little as he does.

3/16 ~ 1:29 PM: Luke Stocker has been released

This is probably the least shocking cut we’ve seen so far. Falcons will save $2.6 million and only incur a $750,000 penalty for a guy who caught 8 passes in 2019. You can read more about our tight end situation and some potential draft replacements here.

3/16~ 2:24 PM: Falcons trade for Hayden Hurst

The Falcons did not waste much time finding answers at tight end. Hours after Austin Hooper signed with the Cleveland Browns, Thomas Dimitroff has already filled the void on offense.

Adam Schefter


And another trade!

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Hurst was the 25th overall pick just two years ago but was limited due to a foot injury his rookie season. Since then, he has been overshadowed by rising star Mark Andrews. This is not to say Hurst is terrible… Andrews is just outstanding. With Baltimore also extending another tight end in Nick Boyle last season, it seemed unlikely they would extend two tight ends from the same draft class. That, on top of it being a weak tight end class, made Hurst a popular trade candidate, with the Jaguars and Patriots being other interested teams.

Hurst is an excellent blocker, but also has some of the most reliable hands among tight ends. He has made it known that he wants to be in a situation where he is primed to catch a ton of passes, and if Austin Hooper’s production the last two seasons is any indicator, this could be the ideal situation for him to do so. With a couple of years left on his rookie deal that will pay him around $3 million in 2020, $3.5 in 2021, and a team option in 2022, Hurst presents an economical choice that has shown some upside in Baltimore.

As part of the Ravens’ tight end rotation last season, the former South Carolina Gamecock caught 30 balls for 349 yards and two touchdowns. Not eye-popping numbers by any means, but he did a lot of the dirty work blocking for Baltimore’s running game and caught passes at a 76.9% clip. Atlanta receives a starter-ready player for just one year less than the four-year contracts received outside of the first round, the value of the pick they gave up.

Hurst needs the opportunity to shine, and his reliable hands will offer Matt Ryan a security blanket similar to Hooper. The reality is that if he had been the starter in Baltimore, his numbers probably would have looked a lot like Hoop’s. It may be a downgrade, but he has the upside to become a top ten tight end in the league and is manageable for the Falcons’ cap situation. They were not going to find an immediate contributor like Hurst outside of the first round in this year’s draft.


*This ticker will be updated as more moves come across the wire*



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