Matt Bryant has been kicking for the Falcons for five years now, and he's a big reason for their success in many late game comebacks. Falcoholics know him as "Money," largely because we never question whether the FG will be good once Ryan's Offense has put him in position, especially in late game and high pressure situations. Bryant has connected on over 88% of his field goal attempts since joining the Falcons in 2009, and this season was no different. Bryant missed just three FGs this season, and two of those came from fifty yards or beyond. By all accounts, Matt Bryant has been a success for the Falcons during his tenure (and a damn good get by TD).
However, he will be 39 when training camp opens for the 2014 season, and his cap number for the season is a staggering $3,312,500. Moreover, despite his propensity for shining in the biggest moments, his FG% has hovered around league average for the last two seasons. Distance kicking appeared to get the better of him this year (though he was true on all 5 attempts from 40-49 yards), and one has to wonder if that can improve given his age, or if it will continue to deteriorate.
If the Falcons cut Matt Bryant before the season, they stand to gain 2.75 million of the contract. This is an intriguing possibility as that salary could make or break making a splash in FA or just gaining a solid contributor (say at the OL or FS...). On the other hand, this decision would not come easy. Matt Bryant is recognized as a great leader in the locker room and in the community. The peace of mind he provides the team is more than worth the contract. Players know that, if they can just get it to the 35, there's a damn good chance they're at least putting three points on the board. Yet, hard decisions are made each year in the off-season, and this might be one that could surprise fans and players alike. TD could look for a young kicker in the draft or likely even sign a proven veteran for cheaper. Both these options are not without their risks, though. For instance, compare it with the struggles we've seen from that team in Louisiana over the last several seasons that has hampered them at times (can't miss the opportunity to link this!)
Let me be clear: I don't expect Matt Bryant to be cut, but I do think that there is a decent possibility that the thought lingers in TD's mind, especially were he to find himself strapped for cash.
What do you think? Is Matt Bryant surely on the Falcons' roster come Week 1 of next season?