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Falcons release TE Luke Stocker, leaving cupboard bare at position for the moment

Stocker only made it a year in Atlanta, and it’s a bit surprising he’s gone already.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Falcons just reportedly lost Austin Hooper to the Browns, and now they’re moving on from one of their veteran tight end signings a year ago.

Luke Stocker was a natural fit last offseason because Dirk Koetter had just come to town and he had a reputation as a proven, solid blocker and occasional pass catcher. Now he’s gone, and the Falcons are basically just down to Jaeden Graham at the position. That means tight end will almost certainly be a free agent, draft, or even trade priority (think O.J. Howard or David Njoku) for the Falcons in the near future.

Stocker was a solid blocker in 2019, but he was not much of an option in the passing game, hauling in just 8 grabs for 53 yards. The Falcons saw an opportunity to free up $2.6 million in cap space and took it, and now Stocker will be looking to latch on with another team as a veteran backup.

The plan at tight end is obviously extremely unclear at the moment. Graham showed real promise, but it’d be surprising if the Falcons went into the year with him as their top option. Even if they did, they need 1-2 quality reserves, but this is a fairly weak draft class on paper and the free agent class isn’t exactly booming either. We could be looking at a de-emphasized tight end position this coming year with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage taking on more responsibility, but it’s simply too early to say.

Good luck to Stocker, wherever he lands.