Former Atlanta Falcons defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi has a knack for eliciting mixed emotions from fans. On the one hand, he showed immense potential in spurts. On the other hand, he apparently squabbled with the coaching staff over playing time and his role with the defense. In the end, the Falcons elected to part ways with the former 5th round draft pick.
Because Massaquoi had one year remaining on his rookie contract, he was not considered a vested veteran (4 years of accrued service) and had to pass through waivers. Had he gone unclaimed after 24 hours, Massaquoi would've become an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team. Yesterday he found a new home when the Tennessee Titans successfully claimed him.
Massaquoi could earn significant playing time. The Titans are not deep at outside linebacker, and starter Derrick Morgan is slated to test unrestricted free agency. The Falcons No. 1 priority is to add a pass rusher and they are interested in Morgan, the former Georgia Tech standout.
As I discussed in my signing day retrospective in February, it's been a non-traditional, rocky road for Massaquoi. He wasn't recruited much as a prep player, then played one year at a community college before transferring to Troy. Whether a character issue or poor academics led him down that path is anyone's guess. Regardless, there were red flags. Couple those red flags with his shenanigans last season and it's no surprise the Falcons cut him loose.
Going forward, a change of scenery may be just what Massaquoi needs. The fact that he was claimed off waivers says something, namely that he could contribute given the right situation. We certainly wish him the best of luck.