Roster cuts are coming. It could be right after this post publishes, it could be tomorrow afternoon, but they’re as inevitable as my regret halfway through a preseason game. We just don’t know who the axe is going to fall on.
I think this will wind up being one of those rare years where there are very few surprise cuts, but there are still some names to monitor that could end up as surprise cuts, even if I genuinely view them as unlikely cuts. Their names are below.
T Austin Pasztor
Pasztor looked like the obvious choice to be the swing tackle and still does if he’s healthy, but we’re not all that sure he’s actually healthy. The Falcons presumably knew he was working through something when they signed him, but are they going to hand the swing tackle gig to a man who they haven’t seen on the field yet and may not be totally healthy? It’s a fair question.
DE Brooks Reed
I don’t have the same barely concealed rage and disdain for Brooks Reed that many fans do. I think he’s a useful player who has shown flashes of excellence in Atlanta, but there’s really no point in quibbling with the idea that he’s thus far failed to live up to his promise or his contract with the team.
With Takkarist McKinley and Vic Beasley at end, Adrian Clayborn, Derrick Shelby, and others available, and with Chris Odom and J’Terius Jones sniffing around roster spots, the Falcons might decide to free up a little cap space and roll with younger players. I think Reed ultimately makes it, but he would not be a truly stunning cut.
DE/DT Courtney Upshaw
He’s in the same situation as Reed. Upshaw is cheap and has been effective since the back half of the 2016 season, which means there’s no real incentive to cut him. There is a numbers game on, however, with the Falcons having enough quality bodies to keep 10 or 11 linemen. If a hybrid veteran has to go, I think it’ll be Upshaw.
WR Andre Roberts
The Falcons held Roberts out of the preseason game last night, which would make this a truly surprising cut. But as steady as Roberts is, I’m not sure the Falcons would see a considerable dropoff if they kept Marvin Hall and Reggie Davis and gave Hall return duties. Both can play special teams and Hall has shown us plenty as a returner this offseason, so while this is a long shot, don’t totally rule it out.
CB C.J. Goodwin
I think it’s relevant to point out that we really don’t know who the Falcons are keeping at cornerback, as none of their reserve options managed to truly stand out over the summer. Goodwin has more experience than most and showed his talent and value last year, and I’d expect him to make the roster, but the Falcons could elect to keep four cornerbacks, value Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Deji Olatoye, or just really enjoy screwing with Falcons fans.
Ultimately, as you know if you’ve seen my 53 man roster, I don’t expect any of these cuts. On a roster with so many settled positions, though, these are the only genuine surprises I can see happening.