A year changes a lot. In 2021, Mike Davis was basically the only player the team gave a two-year contract to, and it wasn’t hard to understand why after he had a productive season filling in for an injured Christian McCaffrey in Carolina.
Davis struggled in a struggling Falcons offense, with Cordarrelle Patterson outshining him as a runner, running lanes didn’t materialize and he wound up averaging fewer yards before contact than just 11 other backs, and rare late season fumbling issues cropping up. Atlanta decided to add talent to the running back room this offseason, and now Davis is headed elsewhere.
Breaking: #Falcons are releasing RB Mike Davis, per source.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) May 2, 2022
The writing appeared to be on the wall when the Falcons drafted BYU runner Tyler Allgeier over the weekend, but it was still possible Davis would spend a bridge year leading the running back committee. Instead, the Falcons will move forward with Allgeier, Patterson, veteran Damien Williams, and at least for now, Qadree Ollison and Caleb Huntley, giving them a group with physicality to spare. Allgeier has a very good chance of leading this backfield in carries, though Patterson’s utility as a pass catcher likely means he’ll get more touches overall.
It’s a bummer for Davis, who seemed incredibly excited to come home when he joined the Falcons a year ago. His fortunes behind a shaky line in Carolina and his well-rounded game suggested he’d do good things for the Falcons, but as mentioned above, he had an uncharacteristically shaky year that wasn’t helped by the team’s mediocrity on offense. Still just 29 years old and with fairly little wear-and-tear, Davis will find a new home elsewhere as a backup and likely have a bounceback season wherever he lands. It’s just a shame things didn’t go differently with the Falcons.
The $2.5 million the Falcons save by cutting ties with Davis will go toward their draft class and possibly other free agent additions, as anyone signed after 4 p.m. today won’t count toward the compensatory pick formula for 2023. Atlanta will need to carve out more space to get their draft class under contract—likely in the form of a Grady Jarrett extension or trade, or a post-June 1 Deion Jones trade—but they wasted little time getting started on getting that space together.
We wish Mike Davis well wherever he lands.