Our initial 53-man roster is in ⬇
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 29, 2023
The Falcons released four players over the weekend, most notably Jalen Mayfield. So, the club only needed to part ways with another 33 to get to the final 53 mark. According to the team, they waived 26, released five, and placed two on injured reserve.
The only distinction between being released and waived is service time. Veterans are outright cut and are free to sign with another team or join Atlanta’s practice squad, while those who are waived must make it through the waiver wire and then are free to join the Falcons’ practice squad.
Still, this is just one shade of the 53-man roster; it will be manipulated every week until the end of the season. Moreover, 16 players will sign practice roster deals, which will begin on Wednesday at noon.
Without further ado, here are a few takeaways:
3 quarterbacks make it
A new rule allows clubs to carry three quarterbacks on the game-day roster without one counting against the 48-player limit. I didn’t expect the Falcons to keep Desmond Ridder, Taylor Heinicke, and Logan Woodside, but it seemed the Falcons didn’t want to take a chance of losing Woodside.
Only 5 wide receivers kept
A shock in the tight end room
The Falcons decided to part ways with Parker Hesse in favor of the Georgia product John FitzPatrick. Hesse is a proven veteran who provides loads of value as a run blocker, but it’s clear the club feels FitzPatrick gives them the same skill set at a younger age.
Huggins in, Horne out
This one was expected once it was announced that Timmy Horne was being waived. The Falcons clearly see something in Albert Huggins they don’t see in Horne. Whether that’s versatility, pass rush ability, more of a motor, etc.
Only 6 cornerbacks
The Falcons are already dealing with injuries in the cornerback room. Mike Hughes and Jeff Okudah might not be ready for the club’s opener against the Panthers, leaving the defense with A.J. Terrell, Dee Alford, Clark Phillips III, and Tre Flowers — not exactly encouraging.
As mentioned before, over the weekend, the Falcons released Jalen Mayfield. Darren Hall, Frank Darby, and Justin Shaffer have all parted ways in one form or another, and Ade Ogundeji, who is on the IR, could join them potentially. A silver lining? The Falcons’ new regime doesn’t mind cutting its losses.
SportsTalkATL will have more on the initial 53-man roster tomorrow on YouTube.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire