After seven seasons, and being drafted alongside Matt Ryan in the 2008 class, Harry Douglas' time with the Falcons appears to be over. While many will argue over his contributions and how good of a receiver he was, it's time to take a look at what his release means for the Falcons.
It's estimated that the Falcons will save roughly 3.5 Million dollars against the 2015 salary cap. Douglas was scheduled to make around 4.5M this year, so the team will carry between 900k to 1M of dead money by cutting Douglas. As for the savings, it's pretty clear that the Falcons are actively freeing up space - presumably to make some moves in free agency. Most would agree that the team needs to spend money on a pass rusher, if not multiple ones, but the team could also look to bolster the offense by signing a tight end and/or a running back.
From a strictly financial standpoint, this move appears to make sense. Douglas - at best - was going to be the third option in the passing game. And with a renewed emphasis on running the ball under Kyle Shanahan, the number of opportunities going to him probably did not warrant the 4.5M hit.
As for the offense, Ryan is losing another receiver that he has a strong familiarity with. However, when it comes to the receivers on the team, Harry had nearly double the interception rate compared to passes thrown to the other receivers. Douglas was never known as a physical receiver that could catch in traffic, and his tendency to go down quickly after the catch limited his ability to generate big plays. The Falcons may be looking for an upgrade in these areas.
If the Falcons do sign a notable receiving tight end, it was likely that Douglas was going to be relegated to the fourth receiving option on the team. When you consider that the team brought in Devin Hester - who also has special teams value - as another slot WR, it became clear that Harry's contributions were considered expendable.
While Douglas did often switch between the Z, X and slot positions - depending on who was injured or hobbled - the Falcons are likely going to revamp the offense somewhat this year under Shanahan. So, the knowledge Douglas had of the existing offense wasn't going to be as valuable. All of this adds up to Douglas being considered expendable, and certainly not worth the large amount of money that was set to go his way.
The official league year hasn't even started, but the Falcons have already begun making waves - and the impact of cutting Harry Douglas will be one of the many stories to watch as the season unfolds. What do you make of the move to cut Douglas and what it means for the team?