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Falcons cut OL Rick Leonard, bring back TE Tucker Fisk

The Falcons do some roster shuffling ahead of Saturday’s preseason finale.

NFL: AUG 22 Preseason - Falcons at Jets Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons are continuing to tweak their roster ahead of next Tuesday’s 53-man cutdown.

In a bit of a surprise, the team announced Friday it has cut offensive tackle Rick Leonard and brought back undrafted tight end Tucker Fisk, who it released earlier this month.

Leonard, a journeyman offensive lineman who was drafted by the Saints back when Terry Fontenot was in the front office, was seen as a potential swing tackle candidate behind starters Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary. A rough multi-penalty effort against the Jets seemingly dented his chances, and this confirms that. Releasing Leonard now gives the veteran a chance to latch on elsewhere, and with his experience, he will likely land at least on someone’s practice squad. It could be Atlanta’s, where he held a spot some last season.

Leonard’s cut could mean the team views Germain Ifedi as its de-facto third tackle right now. Of course, after some lackluster preseason play from the reserve offensive line, it’s possible the team may look outside of its roster to fill that gap. It doesn’t seem like any of the other tackles besides Ifedi would plug in to that role right now, and even then, Ifedi plays primarily on the right side of the line. Colby Gossett could perhaps play tackle in a pinch, and rookie Leroy Watson might grab on to a practice squad spot if the team stands pat.

As for Fisk, the Stanford alum has been somewhat of a camp body throughout the summer and probably won’t make the 53-man roster next week. The Falcons bringing him back this soon must mean the team wants to see more from him for potential practice squad consideration, which makes sense considering the strength of his blocking coming out of college. He’ll likely get plenty of run against the Jaguars tomorrow.

More cuts are coming, so brace yourselves for the final culling of the 2022 Falcons roster. We have a feeling more surprises could be in store for fans next week.