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Falcons Cut Ties With Michael Jenkins, Jamaal Anderson

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Farewell, old friend.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Farewell, old friend. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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In what qualifies as a mild surprise, the Falcons released both Michael Jenkins and Jamaal Anderson this morning.

It’s a surprise because there seemed to be likely candidates for release at both spots—namely Chauncey Davis and Kerry Meier—and because the always secretive coaching staff gave no clear signs this was coming. Despite their flaws, both Jenks and Anderson had value to the Falcons, with Jenks offering at least average pass-catching and blocking and JA98 a little positional versatility. I’ll admit that I had lulled myself into thinking they would both return.

The problem, then, was that they made too much. The team saves close to $7 million by cutting ties with both, money that can be used to shore up the pass rush or lock up an offensive lineman. When you consider that the team likes Cliff Matthews a lot, has a steady defensive tackle rotation and still has five talented receivers on the roster with Jenkins gone, it’s really not that hard to figure out why this happened.

Jenkins finishes his seven year Falcons career with 276 catches for 3,512 yards, a 12.7 yards per catch average and 20 touchdowns. I’ll remember him fondly for 2005 to 2008, when he was either the team’s best or second best receiver and a very capable blocker for a potent rushing attack. There were a lot of times I wished the Falcons would just find an upgrade for him, but he was a good, hard-working Falcon for a long time. Let’s all wish him well.

Anderson is obviously a bit of a different case. He came in with crazy high expectations, having been selected high in the first round in 2007, and proceed to bomb by any reasonable standard. After four seasons, he finishes with 105 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 9 passes defended and two forced fumbles. Over time, he evolved from a total bust from a pass rushing perspective to a capable run-stopping end who could play a little defensive tackle. That reinvention ensures he’ll latch on with some other team—and there’s a slim chance he’ll return to the Falcons on a reduced deal.

Say your goodbyes, gentle readers.