The Falcons, like every other NFL team, had to cut down to 85 players by Tuesday afternoon. They decided to go a little further than that a little sooner than that.
Earlier today, Atlanta announced the release of defensive lineman George Obinna and offensive lineman Bryce Hargrove. That brought the roster to 84 players, and given that they don’t have to cut down to 80 until next week, that’s either a head start because they don’t love their depth options or a sign they’re about to sign someone.
We have released George Obinna and Bryce Hargrove.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 16, 2021
Obinna was signed along with defensive tackle John Atkins, who was released in the earlier round of cuts, and joined the Falcons this offseason after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent for the Browns in 2020. He played 13 snaps against the Titans and apparently did not distinguish himself in the eyes of the Falcons coaching staff, so he’s on to his next stop. Hargrove was a 2021 Falcons undrafted free agent and received more extensive playing time, playing 27 snaps or 50% of the offensive snaps in total for Atlanta last Friday night, and that extended audition during a night when the Falcons struggled mightily along the offensive line apparently convinced the team that options like fellow UDFAs Ryan Neuzil and Joe Sculthorpe and veteran addition Sam Jones deserved longer looks. Hopefully it goes without saying, but we wish both of these guys well as they look for new teams.
The interesting question is why the Falcons cut down to 84 players when they didn’t need to. It’s possible that Arthur Smith, a man who has already kicked off fierce debates by sitting most of his projected 2021 starters and major contributors and does not appear to particularly care about appearances, decided that neither guy was going to play the rest of the preseason and just got a head start on cuts. It’s also possible that the Falcons, who saw their line largely play putrid football against the Titans, have a free agent addition in mind and will add someone to bring the roster back to 85 men ahead of this Saturday’s game against the Dolphins. We’ll likely know the answer soon enough.