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Report: Falcons set to release RT Ryan Schraeder

It was a heck of a run for the undrafted free agent out of Valdosta State.

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons will reportedly release right tackle Ryan Schraeder, who spent six seasons with the team after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Valdosta State.

The team confirmed the release and a post-June 1 designation for Schraeder shortly after free agency kicked off at 4 p.m. ET. That designation saves the team $6.45 million against the cap.

Schraeder was maybe general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s most impressive undrafted free agent signing, and he certainly proved to be a diamond in the rough.

After struggling to find a suitable right tackle to play opposite of Jake Matthews (Jeremy Trueblood anyone?), Atlanta rolled the dice with Schraeder in 2014, and they were rewarded richly for it.

In 2015, Schraeder started all 16 games for the Birds and was graded out by Pro Football Focus as the best right tackle in the NFL with an 87.0 mark. That was enough to give him a spot on PFF’s All-Pro team as well.

He didn’t slow down too much in 2016, either, starting every single game for a vaunted offensive line in Atlanta’s Super Bowl run. Schraeder was rewarded with a 5 year/$31.5 million ($12.5 million guaranteed) contract extension in the middle of that magical season. He made Dimitroff look like an intelligent man after putting on another strong performance in 2017.

The wheels just fell off in 2018, however. Schraeder’s 63.6 overall PFF grade this season was good for 116th among all offensive lineman, and 63rd among all tackles in the NFL. The seven sacks he gave up were the eighth-most among all tackles, and he was also one of only eight offensive lineman to surrender double digit QB hits.

Schraeder was eventually benched for Ty Sambrailo in Week 14.

The Falcons will be on the hook for $3.8 million in dead money with this release, but they do save $3.95 million in cap space from not having to pay Schraeder the $7.75 million cap hit he was due in 2019. We’ll see if he’s designated a post-June 1 cut or not.

In the end, you couldn’t really ask for anything more from an undrafted free agent than three seasons of elite play at a position of extreme need. Schraeder is a home-grown product and I’ve always rooted for him. Hopefully he lands on his feet and is able to continue his NFL career with another team.

Right tackle is now a major long-term need for the Falcons, increasing the chances that they’ll draft one early in April. Expect Ty Sambrailo to start for the moment, but the team is likely not done at tackle.