Geneaut

5 possible Atlanta Falcons roster cuts to keep an eye on

122 posts in this topic

https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2019/1/17/18183589/5-possible-atlanta-falcons-roster-cuts-to-keep-an-eye-on-robert-alford-ryan-schraeder

It’s not the most fun part of the offseason, but every year, the Falcons make cuts. In a league where a single bad year can get you the axe and cap space is at a premium no matter how much it increases, good players (or at least formerly good players) are going to hit the bricks.

We’ll dive in on each of these players in the weeks ahead, but for now, here’s a look at some of big name potential cuts for this football team that you’ll want to monitor closely this spring and summer.

T Ryan Schraeder
Let’s take a moment and appreciate what Schraeder has accomplished as an undrafted free agent. He was a part-time starter in 2013 and 2014 before taking over full-time at right tackle in 2015 and not looking back. He put together a three season run as a terrific offensive lineman before the wheels came off in a major way in 2018, and for a dude who had to claw and fight just to make the team in the first place, that’s extremely impressive.

At minimum, though, the Falcons are likely going to approach Schraeder about a re-structure. By cutting him in 2019, they’ll save $5.2 million and suffer a dead cap hit of $2.5 million this year and $1.2 million next year, and that money could go toward other needs along the offensive line. Schraeder will be 31 this year, which is not necessarily a sign that his career is winding down, but he’s coming off a 2018 where he was benched for and outplayed by Ty Sambrailo, which is a massive red flag. Unless there was a lurking injury the Falcons are aware of and we aren’t, he feels like a mortal lock to be re-doing his deal or seeking a starting job elsewhere.

Who would replace him? Chances are good the Falcons will draft a tackle or lean on Ty Sambrailo for a year, though the latter will have to re-sign.

DE Brooks Reed
Reed has been a valuable rotational defensive end since joining the Falcons all the way back in 2015, but the returns haven’t been truly stellar. Reed is rock solid against the run but is an iffy pass rusher, and he’s heading into his age 32 season with seven sacks (and, to be fair, 18 quarterback hits) in his last three seasons. The Falcons can save $3.9 million against a dead money hit of less than $1 million if they part ways with him in 2019, and with the defensive end position delivering a couple of disappointing seasons in a row in general, they’d likely be wise to do so. Reed is a free agent in 2020, however, so it’s possible the Falcons keep him around as a veteran bridge regardless of what they do at the position.


Quite simply, they don’t have a replacement for him on the roster today, so we’ll see how free agency and the draft shake out.

DE Vic Beasley
I don’t think the Falcons will outright cut Beasley, but stranger things have happened. He’s staring at a fifth year option worth $12.8 million, an exorbitant total for a player who had one of the worst seasons of any Falcon in 2018. You keep waiting for things to click for Beasley, a tremendous athlete with great speed and bursts of impressive production, but he keeps getting washed out of plays and failing to make an impact as a pass rusher. If the team is serious about revamping both lines, they simply can’t pay Beasley that money.

That said, Dan Quinn had indicated they’d like to keep Beasley around, because he’s only 27 and he’s still shown flashes of being the player Atlanta hoped they were getting with a top ten pick. Axing him would save them nearly $13 million outright, but I expect the Falcons to try to talk extension with Beasley, getting him something incentive-heavy that lands closer to what Brooks Reed is making now than what Beasley himself is supposed to make in 2019. If that fails, don’t be stunned if the team moves on.

CB Robert Alford
There isn’t a more obvious cut candidate on this list than Robert Alford. Full stop.

Start with his 2018 season, which was his worst since probably 2013 or 2014. Alford still made plays—he’s too good not to—but in between there were stretches of awful coverage, paired with the penalties you can excuse when he’s playing well and are magnified when he’s not. Alford is going to be 30 heading into 2019, and the dropoff from a great 2017 to 2018 was so dramatic that you’re worried about his future if he wasn’t nursing a secret injury.

Even if Alford played reasonably well in 2018, though, his contract leaves him in danger. The Falcons can save $7.9 million against $1.2 million in dead money by cutting him this year, with $8.5 million in savings versus $600,000 in dead money in 2020. That’s easily the most the Falcons will be able to save by cutting a single player in this spring or summer outside of Vic Beasley, and Alford’s 2018 won’t help his case.

Finally, consider the team’s own rhetoric. The Falcons just drafted Isaiah Oliver in the second round, Brian Poole is an affordable restricted free agent in 2019, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson has been good enough in limited duty to return on another affordable, one year deal. Yet the team is openly talking about cornerback as a position they need to address. Given that Desmond Trufant’s contract and second half improvement make him virtually uncuttable heading into this season, there’s only one player in that cornerbacks corps who the team could be thinking about replacing with an early round selection.

Unless the team finds a way to work out a re-structure that dramatically reduces him cap hit, I think it’s basically destined to happen. I really hope Alford can catch on with another team and fare well, because I think up until last year he was chronically underrated and underappreciated in Atlanta.

The Falcons will still have Trufant, Oliver and Poole in place even if they don’t make any additions at the position, and it’s a mortal lock that they will add. They should be fine next year one way or the other.

K Matt Bryant
Every time we add Bryant to a list like this, it looks foolish in hindsight. This year, Bryant was good as ever when healthy, so there’s no real compelling reason to cut him.

That said, there are reasons he belongs on a list of potential cuts, even if I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen. The first is the Falcons signing Giorgio Tavecchio to a two year deal in 2018 and holding on to him even when Bryant was healthy, which is at least vaguely ominous. The second is Bryant’s 2018 injuries, which only cost him three games but limited him in at least one other. Given that he’ll be 44 years old in 2019, I doubt anyone in Flowery Branch is taking those injuries lightly.

The team would save $3 million or so against $1.3 million in dead money in 2019, and would save $3.5 million vs. $666,668 in 2020 if they were to move on. There’s no urgency to do so if the team believes Bryant will stay healthy and effective, and frankly he’s done nothing in recent years to suggest that he won’t keep kicking like the ageless wonder he is well into the back half of his 40s. It’s possible that Tavecchio is just hanging around as insurance until the start of the season for Atlanta, but I do know one thing: The Falcons aren’t going to hang on to two kickers again for the whole of the 2019 season.

You may ask where a handful of players are, including Mohamed Sanu. The reality is that Sanu is a very productive member of the offense, and while the Falcons will save $4.6 million by cutting him, they have little incentive to do so with a cap crunch not looming. That may change in 2020, when the team can part ways with Sanu (or re-structure him, if he’s amenable) to save $6.5 million, but I think he’s safe for this year. Others like Devonta Freeman and Desmond Trufant were laid low by injury or a shaky half year, but the team will actually lose money by cutting tem this year due to the structure of their deals.

Edited by Geneaut

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hate to see Bryant go that guy still has something to give but financially it makes sense and Tavecchio when given an opportunity proved he can do the job for substantially less.

Schraeder I’m afraid his time here is done.Hes done well as a Falcon came from nothing to earn his payday.But again we need to cull some age and salary upfront.Ill be shocked if he’s still here during the off season.

Alford I’m on the fence on I want to see him bounce back if we can get a cap friendly restructure done I’d be holding on to him excuse the holding bit lol.

Reeds a no brainer I’d let him walk also self explanatory really.

Beasleys a keeper but shorten his leash.Not sure how I’d approach it.I guess if your committed to him you give him 2 -3 years but do it in away he’s easily cuttable after the second year I guess.

Knight of God, Emmitt, Vandy and 1 other like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, kiwifalcon said:

Hate to see Bryant go that guy still has something to give but financially it makes sense and Tavecchio when given an opportunity proved he can do the job for substantially less.

Schraeder I’m afraid his time here is done.Hes done well as a Falcon came from nothing to earn his payday.But again we need to cull some age and salary upfront.Ill be shocked if he’s still here during the off season.

Alford I’m on the fence on I want to see him bounce back if we can get a cap friendly restructure done I’d be holding on to him excuse the holding bit lol.

Reeds a no brainer I’d let him walk also self explanatory really.

Beasleys a keeper but shorten his leash.Not sure how I’d approach it.I guess if your committed to him you give him 2 -3 years but do it in away he’s easily cuttable after the second year I guess.

Bryant is the only one I would question.  All the others, I would say, are in positions we should be able to improve with other personnel.  I know money is involved, but I prefer to think along the line of results.

Geneaut and LongLiveNito like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Oldmanfan said:

Bryant is the only one I would question.  All the others, I would say, are in positions we should be able to improve with other personnel.  I know money is involved, but I prefer to think along the line of results.

Agreed I even think the coaches and GM will be sweating on cutting Bryant.

I think it’s just one of those tough calls you got to make.

Geneaut and JDaveG like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beasley will bring a comp pick if another team signs him after next season. Maybe Reed too. It's something to think about if we can get them to stick around at a salary matching their current performance. Draft picks are valuable, even 5th and 6th rounders.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the McKinley situation. Not sure they would let go of Reed and Beasley. We don't know what McKinley is going to do going forward. If he were to sit out to get his life where he wants it then letting Reed and Beasley go would create a problem on defense. They may not be all pro. Ya just can't cut all of them and hope to fill the void with an upgrade just in a blink of an eye.

Just look back a few years ago when they cut Hawley and thought Konz was going to be an upgrade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think at this point Bryant has earned a right to stay on seeing his loyalty and longevity with a catch:

1) It can't cost us a critical roster spot due to the need to carry 2 K for one more year.

2) It can't cost us financially on a critical FA type move this offseason.

If you check those, should have no problem holding onto Bryant.

Rest are almost no brainers IF we secure a viable replacement for each.

Reed just simply does not produce enough for his price but we lost Shelby to IR a 2nd time in his short contract. So, if anything at least Reed has been healthy. For the price? Bring back Means and cut Reed. Easy. Shelby probably is gone. So, we need a 5T DE that can play DT in pass rush situations/base DE in run D. That's also assuming Irvin is back; regardless of VB situation. We may have at minimum 3 new DEs next year or more.

Alford is a restructure at minimum or cut. We do need another CB that can play outside on this roster if we cut Robert. So FA or Draft it will happen. Can't go into the year with only your starters. Just saw what a season without adequate depth can do; talking about LB and S (Neas had to come back to secure SS and Kazee was not yet ready to start when Rico went down).

Schraeder is an easy cut at his price tag, but best value is cutting him with a post-6/1 designation. However, he carries no dead 2020 cap if we cut him early and would yield $4M in space for 2019. That may be the best COA after further consideration to land a key 2019 FA in the next 2 months at start of UFA. Ty could come back for the savings price or less, so it may be a net neutral in savings. Unless we let Ty and Ryan walk for Gono as the #3 OT next year and focus on FA for an OT and draft for an OG(or 2?)? We then don't have a proven vet to challenge/cover for us and would be relying on Gono perhaps to the peril of the season and at least Ty filled in well in the short-term for RS.

Beasley is probably the hardest choice based on how much higher his 2019 cap hit will be as it currently stands.

 

Plunket76 likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1970 said:

All five are on my cut list along with Fusco, Bosher, Ortiz, Zimmer and Neal. That frees up $39.7M in 2019. Even more if we designate Shredder as a Post June 1 cut.

I think we can do better than Ortiz and Neal, however I think Zimmer is an interesting project.  Quick, fast, prototypical body with a lot of strength.  He is a poor mans Taven Bryan(a kid many of us wanted).

VTCrunkler likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Stryka said:

I think we can do better than Ortiz and Neal, however I think Zimmer is an interesting project.  Quick, fast, prototypical body with a lot of strength.  He is a poor mans Taven Bryan(a kid many of us wanted).

I don't Zimmer was ever active for a game. That's telling if true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, FalconFanSince1970 said:

I don't Zimmer was ever active for a game. That's telling if true.

He was on the active roster for a couple games.  He probably played like 10 snaps all year but it was to get his feet wet and partially due to DT depth when Grady and Shelby were injured.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, mqg96 said:

I'd rather cut Desmond Trufant instead of Robert Alford anyday. I'm telling you, Alford would thrive with a better DC or better skill players than the Falcons.

Trufant is the sticker, less penalized guy.  Just with stone hands.  I like Alford when he is on but even then he gets too many penalties and does way too much grabbing.  His hands have been unreliable lately as well.  How many picks have either had in the last 2 years.  Id bed Kazee had more picks this year than Alford and Trufant have combined for the last 2 years.  Its shameful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, mqg96 said:

I'd rather cut Desmond Trufant instead of Robert Alford anyday. I'm telling you, Alford would thrive with a better DC or better skill players than the Falcons.

Trufant can't be moved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

Trufant can't be moved.

Not without a trade partner.  If we are going to cut Alford, I sure hope we explore some trade options 1st.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, high impact said:

With the McKinley situation. Not sure they would let go of Reed and Beasley. We don't know what McKinley is going to do going forward. If he were to sit out to get his life where he wants it then letting Reed and Beasley go would create a problem on defense. They may not be all pro. Ya just can't cut all of them and hope to fill the void with an upgrade just in a blink of an eye.

Just look back a few years ago when they cut Hawley and thought Konz was going to be an upgrade.

Good point. 

high impact likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, mqg96 said:

I'd rather cut Desmond Trufant instead of Robert Alford anyday. I'm telling you, Alford would thrive with a better DC or better skill players than the Falcons.

And Trufant wouldn’t?

you guys who’ve been touting Alf as some sort of elite corner need to let it go. He’s proven you dead wrong. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

Beasley is probably the hardest choice based on how much higher his 2019 cap hit will be as it currently stands.

And who do you replace him with? A draft pick? Free agent? He may NT have replicated his 16 season but he gets pressure and still forced three fumbles and had 5 sacks and an int 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Vandy said:

And Trufant wouldn’t?

you guys who’ve been touting Alf as some sort of elite corner need to let it go. He’s proven you dead wrong. 

Rocky is what he is. I honestly have never figured why someone didn’t move him to FS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve never understood the hate for Trufant and the love for Alford. It’s so stupid. 

Also, cutting Bryant would be a very bad idea if he’s healthy and can still kick. Having a great kicker is super important 

CADirtyBird and Schwarzwald like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with these cuts minus Bryant. I know he is old, but reliable kickers are worth their weight in gold. The Bears would still be in the playoffs if they had Bryant. If he thinks he can go another season, I say we keep him.

In regards to our corners, I was impressed with Trufant's play at the end of the season. I still think he can return to his old self with better coaching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now