When the Falcons brought back Kaleb McGary earlier this offseason, we thought we had a pretty good idea of who at least three of Atlanta’s tackles would be in 2023. That’d be McGary, starting left tackle and Jake Matthews, and Germain Ifedi, who backed up McGary throughout 2022 and figured to be a favorite for a roster spot again this coming season.
Instead, in one of the bigger surprises of the offseason thus far, Ifedi is gone. The Falcons announced his release and four signings on Tuesday.
With Ifedi cut—and no real reason provided by the team, so we don’t know if this is injury-related or he simply didn’t fit into the team’s plans—Atlanta has far less experience at tackle now. Behind Matthews and McGary, the competition figures to be new addition and ex-XFLer Barry Wesley, 2022 undrafted free agent Tyler Vrabel, ex-Cardinals offensive lineman Josh Miles, hyper-versatile former Saint Ethan Greenidge, and perhaps former Michigan right tackle and 2021 third round pick Jalen Mayfield. They must love at least one player in that group to cut ties with a player with extensive starting experience like Ifedi, and the timing would suggest that it’s Wesley.
We’ll see if Ifedi ends up returning at some point if this competition doesn’t shake out the way Atlanta expects or not, but suffice to say this is a surprise and clouds the picture at the tackle position. The Falcons may add more competition in the weeks ahead, and probably should consider doing so.
In addition to Ifedi’s release, the team made the signings of former XFL defensive tackle LaCale London, safety Lukas Denis, and Wesley official after they were previously reported.
The team also signed 29-year-old quarterback Austin Aune. The North Texas product spent six years in the Yankees’ minor league system before embarking on a college career, and is fresh off a season where he threw for over 3,500 yards and 33 touchdowns. He’ll compete with Logan Woodside for a spot on the practice squad this summer.
We wish Ifedi well, and we’ll see what happens in a tackle competition that just got a lot more interesting.