The Falcons managed to stun the fanbase today, as a report came in from our own Evan Birchfield that the team was cutting Matt Bryant. Now we have a report that indicates his replacement is likely to be former Charger and Georgia Southern kicker Younghoe Koo.
This is, I hope, a move that looks to the future. Cutting Bryant isn’t an indefensible move for the Falcons, given his struggles this year, but in a lost season there’s no rush to do so unless you’re eyeing a replacement for this year and beyond. Koo has the talent to be that guy, and now he gets his shot.
Matt Bryant has played his final game for the Falcons and most likely final game ever in NFL— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) October 29, 2019
Team cut Bryant today (@EvanBirchfield has it 1st)
NFL league source tells me plan is to sign former Georgia Southern kicker Younghoe Koo pic.twitter.com/ZVadbXUUl6
UPDATE: The team has confirmed.
We have agreed to terms with K Younghoe Koo and have released K Matt Bryant.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) October 29, 2019
STORY - https://t.co/GakH2rabkm pic.twitter.com/TAHOWEmGP8
Koo hit just 50% of his kicks when he was a Charger, which obviously isn’t great, but the leg is not in question and he’s gotten plenty of sniffs since then. In 2016, his senior year at Georgia Southern, he hit 96.6% of his extra points (he missed one) and 95% of his kicks (also missed just one). If the Falcons are willing to run with him for the year and give him a fair shake, he might just sew up the job for at least the next couple of seasons.
If not, and this is a stopgap move, it’s going to be very frustrating. It’s hard to give the Falcons much future credit here because they botched the kicking situation so badly this year, choosing to move on from Bryant due to what were alluded to be injury and cost concerns, only to panic and sign him back to an even more expensive deal right before the season when Giorgio Tavecchio came unglued in preseason. The NFL is a business and the Falcons make business decisions like any other team, but it’s a lousy way for a true franchise legend to have to go out. Wherever Bryant lands next and whatever he does, we wish him well.
Now hopefully Koo can build a pretty fine Falcons career of his own.