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Eagles release defensive end Vinny Curry, potential Falcons free agent target

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He’s an intriguing potential addition for the Falcons, but will they have the money and interest to get it done?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons have been quiet in free agency, but that could change in the coming week (if only a little) once they carve out some more cap space with a Matt Ryan extension. It just so happens that there’s a player or two who has been cut loose recently that may be of interest to Atlanta, and Vinny Curry is certainly one of them.

The longtime Eagles defensive end has 22 career sacks over six seasons, including a standout 9 in 2014. He’s the same age as Adrian Clayborn, roughly, and like Clayborn has exactly one impressive sack total season to his name. The biggest difference between their production is that Clayborn has been a bit more effective on a season-by-season basis, has a longer history of injuries, and is coming off his best season, which is why he’s probably looking at a contract that will pay him north of $7-8 million annually.

Curry, on the other hand, is finishing off a season where he put together three sacks and figures to command less than Clayborn. That could make him interesting for the Falcons, who could stand to add at least one more quality player to their defensive end rotation, and love to buy low on defenders.

Curry’s a solid fit because he’s a quietly solid run stopper and a competent-at-worst pass rusher, which means he isn’t just a specialist. The Falcons would ideally be able to put their four top ends (Takk McKinley, Vic Beasley, Brooks Reed, and whoever they add) on to the field in all sorts of situations, allowing them to distribute snaps as they see fit without handing significant snaps to one-dimensional players. Adding Curry would enable that.

The question becomes cost, timeline, and interest. The Falcons have yet to indicate whether they’d look into Curry because he was not a free agent, they’ll be out on him if he’s commanding top-shelf defensive end money, and they may not have the cap space to chase him in earnest until Ryan’s extension is done, and we’re still not 100% sure when that will be yet.

That said, if the stars align, I’d hope the Falcons would take a very hard look at Curry. He’s good enough to be an asset, and he’d allow the Falcons to focus more draft capital on the interior of the defensive line and offensive skill positions, where they arguably need the most help in April.