The Falcons came into training camp with many tight ends competing for a handful of spots. Thanks to injuries, additions, and subtractions, they’ll head into the regular season with a surprisingly settled group, one that really only has one remaining question associated with it.
That’s because after parting ways with Carson Meier and adding Luke Stocker, the Falcons have waived former XFLer, Buffalo Bill and Detroit Lion Khari Lee, a spring addition to what was at the time a very thin-looking group of tight ends.
The Atlanta Falcons have released TE Khari Lee with an injury settlement. Roster now sits at 79 players. https://t.co/3mtzro8XMc— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) September 3, 2020
The injury is unfortunate, because Lee was clearly battling hard for a spot all summer. I’m hopeful he’ll be healthy enough to land back with the Falcons if they need a tight end later this year, or with another team in need of the kind of blocking acumen Lee brings to the table.
The move leaves the Falcons with Hayden Hurst, Jaeden Graham, Luke Stocker, and Jared Pinkney under contract. Hurst was the player the Falcons swapped a 2nd rounder for and is expected to both start and take on most of Austin Hooper’s targets, while Graham is an intriguing young pass catching tight end and Stocker is solid veteran depth with a long history of serving as a capable blocker when called upon. Those are likely to be the top three tight ends on the roster.
The question, really, was whether the team would keep four tight ends (though we do doubt it) and whether Lee, Pinkney, or both would hit the practice squad. Pinkney is now almost certainly going to wind up there to develop, and his upside is high enough that he might be competing for the #2 job on this team in a year or two. This is a group that looks pretty solid on paper, especially considering the Falcons only had Graham at one point early on in the spring.
Ultimately, we wish Lee well, and we’ll hope the young group of tight ends in Atlanta will work out spectacularly this season.