The Falcons had a busy week, clearing cap space by releasing Robert Alford, Brooks Reed, and declining Matt Bryant’s team option, making him a free agent.
It was especially difficult to see Bryant go. He’s been so clutch for this team for so long. Alford took a big step back last year, but he was stellar in 2016 and 2017. Reed has been a valuable role player over his time in Atlanta. But all of the cuts make sense in terms of cap savings and performance. With some big deals looming for Julio Jones and Grady Jarrett, and plenty of needs to address on the roster, the Falcons likely aren’t done with cuts.
Here are the likeliest candidates, according to our staff.
EDGE Vic Beasley and RT Ryan Schraeder
Ok, so Vic Beasley isn’t technically a cut—the team would be rescinding his 2019 fifth-year option. But the math just doesn’t work out for him to remain in Atlanta, at least not on that deal. Beasley will count $12.8M against the cap in 2019, but if the Falcons rescind the option, they’ll get every single penny back. Paying that amount of money for a player who barely contributed to your pass rush would be a colossal mistake. Use the $12.8M to go get a much better player in free agency.
With Ryan Schraeder, I think his cut is inevitable—but it might not come until after the draft or even until training camp. The Falcons would save about $3.95M by moving on from Schraeder, but his dead cap is a very substantial $3.8M. On the other hand, Atlanta could save $5.25M with only a $2.5M dead cap hit by designating Schraeder as a post-June 1st cut (or by simply waiting until that time to move on). - Kevin Knight
WR Mohamed Sanu
I went from a Sanu hater to a believer. He’s a valuable asset in the offense but the biggest problem is his salary: the Falcons are paying their WR3 $12.5 million in the next two years. It’s just too much. No team in the league would pay their third wide receiver this much money because it’s way too much. Sanu’s snaps will certainly drop with Ridley a starter making him far too much of a luxury to afford. The Falcons didn’t keep Patrick DiMarco around because that money could be better spent elsewhere.
I hope the team can keep Sanu at a lower cost more inline with his role but they can save $4.85 million in cap space if he’s cut. The Falcons could get a starter for that money instead of the fifth option on a passing play. - Matt Chambers
G Brandon Fusco
I don’t expect Fusco to be cut this offseason, but if it did happen, then I wouldn’t be super surprised. Fusco was brought in as Atlanta’s “big-time” 2018 free agent signing, and it hasn’t really worked out so far. He was one of the team’s let downs in the regular season, grading out as the second-worst lineman on the roster, according to PFF.
Dan Quinn has already gone on record to call out every offensive lineman on the roster not named Jake Matthews or Alex Mack. Just how hurt Fusco was last season (before his season-ending injury in Week 7), we’ll never know, but what we did see from him on the field wasn’t too promising.
Moving on from him this offseason would free up $3.35 million in cap space, but would also open up another hole in the offensive line. If the team is more comfortable with Wes Schweitzer as a starter moving forward, then Fusco’s roster spot may very well be in jeopardy. That scenario isn’t too far-fetched either, as Schweitzer outplayed Fusco last season and has proven to be very durable in his career thus far. - Adnan Ikic
P Matt Bosher
Choosing one that hasn’t already been selected, I went with punter Matt Bosher. I don’t actually think they’d part with the 8-year veteran, but for the sake of naming someone, I’ll make an argument on why they could. If the team is worried about adding to their cap room, cutting Bosher would free up around $2.5 million.
The only other reason why the Falcons would make this move, is due to the hiring of new special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica. Perhaps the new guy wants to bring in his own faces, and they already released the best kicker in Atlanta Falcons history, so nobody is safe.
The Falcons should absolutely not make this move, but our opinions don’t matter. At the end of the day, they are going to do whatever they think is best for the team. They better just hope Bosher doesn’t body slam anyone on the way out. - Evan Birchfield