Falcons release of Dante Fowler was purely “reclassification adjustment”

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When Falcons fans found out the team was effectively replacing Vic Beasley with Dante Fowler, they were overjoyed. Fowler was fresh off an 11.5 sack season with the Los Angeles Rams, and many believed his best football was still in front of him.

The 2020 season was anything but productive. He was limited by injuries, which certainly factored into his low sack total, but the new regime didn’t see fit to pay him the salary the old regime negotiated. Terry Fontenot and the front office re-negotiated a pay cut but left incentives for him to earn some of that cash back by hitting sack benchmarks.

The 2021 season didn’t go the way Fowler or the Falcons wanted. He only notched 4.5 sacks, even if he was one of the only productive pieces of the worst pass rush in the league. The new contract turned 2022 into a void year, which essentially means the Falcons were always going to cut him this offseason.

The signing of Dante Fowler can only be seen as a failure. In hindsight, the production from his time in LA can be attributed to the star-studded defensive line and Fowler staying healthy. In Atlanta, the Falcons could not surround Fowler with adequate personnel outside of Grady Jarrett. The rebuild of the pass rush has begun in Atlanta, but it started last offseason when the Falcons initially re-negotiated Fowler’s contract. They were always going to part ways with him, and the timing has no significance.

According to Matt Karoly of Talkin’ Birdy, the move didn’t change the $4.66 million dead money on the 2022 salary cap. It was purely a reclassification adjustment.

Reclassification adjustments are adjustments for amounts previously recognized in the comprehensive income now reclassified to profit or loss. So this was purely an administrative transaction and shouldn’t be seen as anything more.

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