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Who is the likeliest cut for the Falcons?

The names are ones you’d expect, given the intersection of cap savings and likely value to the 2020 Falcons.

Atlanta Falcons v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

We should expect the cuts to come rolling in soon enough. The Falcons, after all, already weirdly announced that Vic Beasley won’t be coming back, and they said moves would be spinning up after the Super Bowl.

Who might the team move on from in their quest for cap space? Here are our thoughts.

DL Allen Bailey

Here are the reasons to keep Allen Bailey: A track record of success and the team’s very real, very troublesome lack of depth along the defensive line.

Here are the reasons to cut him: He’s coming off one of the worst years of his career, especially as a pass rusher, and the team can save $4.5 million by cutting ties with him. I would be surprised if the former positives outweighed the negatives for Atlanta, which has to come up with cap space somewhere and has relatively few avenues available with which to do so. I like Bailey and I supported the signing, but I’ll be stunned if he’s back, or at least back at his current salary.

Honorable mention to Devonta Freeman, given that I think the team is very likely to draft a back and his release does offer up some cap space, as well. - Dave Choate

TE Luke Stocker

The Falcons front office is hard to read these days. One day Thomas Dimitroff is publicly acknowledging Vic Beasley’s second-half surge. The next day (well, to be clear, it’s been a couple weeks) the Falcons announce that they have no plans whatsoever to negotiate with Vic. So as the off-season kicks off in earnest, it’s anyone guess who will find themselves on the proverbial chopping block.

Cutting Stocker will net the Falcons $2.6 million in cap space, which is less $900k less than the Falcons would net in 2020 by cutting Devonta Freeman. (Mull that one over for a minute.)

Stocker is a stud blocker but a complete non-option in the passing game (1 reception on 8 targets this season), which in my mind makes his current price tag prohibitive. But I’m just a morbidly obese man with a neckbeard sitting in a dark corner of my mom’s basement, clicking away on a keyboard that’s missing at least 3 letters. - James Rael

OT Ty Sambrailo

When the Falcons signed Sambrailo last year, it was clear they viewed him as a short-term rental who could potentially be a stop-gap starter if absolutely needed. Unfortunately, he lived up to his nickname of “Turnstile Ty” and the team couldn’t wait to get rookie Kaleb McGary out there to replace him. In fact, the team seemed intent on starting Matt Gono ahead of Sambrailo until he was sidelined with injuries before the week 1 game.

With the team being bullish on Gono’s potential and McGary being the long-term answer (for now) at right tackle, Sambrailo is the most sensible of all the cuts. With a cap savings of almost 4 million, it’s time to move on from the mediocre tackle. - David Walker

RB Devonta Freeman

I am surprised no one picked Freeman, who has been at the top of my expected cut list for months. This is not really hard to explain. Freeman has been a poor fit with Dirk Koetter’s offense, whatever that offense may be. He finished 2019 with a career-low 3.6 yards per carry. Freeman has also not played all 16 games since 2016. He is expensive and out of guaranteed cash. Running back is also one of the easiest positions to replace, a big reason why many say paying out big contracts to backs is a bad idea. The Falcons can clear $3.5 million by getting rid of Freeman and looking for a replacement in the mid-rounds of the 2020 NFL draft. - Matt Chambers