Falcons Rumors

Falcons Won’t Re-Sign OL Ben Garland

Offensive lineman Ben Garland won’t return to the Falcons in 2019, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Garland played in 14 games and made four starts at right guard for Atlanta last season. 

Garland first entered the league as a defensive lineman, but later transitioned to the O-Line. Last season, the Falcons retained him via the $2.9MM second-round tender for restricted free agents. This time around, they’re looking to revamp the offense line, and Garland is not in their plans.

The Falcons reached an extension with offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo on Tuesday, keeping him under club control through the 2021 season. Meanwhile, there will be more O-Line moves on the way. Ryan Schraeder, who lost his tackle job to Sambrailo down the stretch, could be on the outs despite having three years and $18.8MM left on his deal.

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Falcons, Ty Sambrailo Agree To Extension

The Falcons and offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo agreed to a three-year extension, according to a team announcement. The new pact will keep him in the fold for years to come and can pay up to $18MM, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter).

We are excited to bring Ty back as a part of our brotherhood,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said in a statement. “His versatility has proven to be one of his many strengths. We look forward to him being a valuable piece of the offensive line.”

Sambrailo first came into the league as a second-round pick of the Broncos in 2015. Just prior to the 2017 season, the Broncos shipped him to the Falcons for a 2018 fifth-round draft pick.

That proved to be a tremendous pickup for the Falcons –Sambrailo took over as the club’s starting right tackle near the end of the 2018 season and proved his worth. Meanwhile, Ryan Schraeder was demoted to the bench, and his status is murky with three years and $18.8MM to go on his deal.

Sambrailo made $959K last season, so it’s safe to assume that he’ll see a significant pay bump on his new deal. In an offseason where the Falcons have already bid farewell to cornerback Robert Alford, defensive end Brooks Reed, and kicker Matt Bryant, Sambrailo has stability with Atlanta. He joins linebacker Bruce Carter and defensive end Steven Means as Falcons players with new deals signed in February.

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Falcons Will Not Tender CB Brian Poole

The Falcons informed cornerback Brian Poole that he will not be tendered as a restricted free agent, Mike Florio of PFT tweets

Poole has been the Falcons’ primary nickel cornerback for the past three seasons, so the news comes as a bit of a surprise. Last year, Poole set new career highs in tackles (74), sacks (3.0), and interceptions (3), but the team is unwilling to tender him even at the lowest level, which would cost just over $2MM.

The door is still open to a return, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. However, Poole would have to agree to a lesser deal than the RFA tender, and it’s possible that the 26-year-old (27 in October) will prefer to take his chances on the open market.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has indicated in the past that Damontae Kazee could take over at nickel, so the Falcons may already have Poole’s replacement in-house.

Last year, Poole graded out as just the No. 81 cornerback in the NFL out of 110 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus.

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Falcons Sign Steven Means To Extension

The Falcons inked defensive end Steven Means to a new one-year extension, according to a team announcement. Means was initially set for free agency in March. 

[RELATED: Falcons Re-Sign LB Bruce Carter]

Means, 29 in September, played in eight games (four starts) for the Falcons in 2018. In that span, he recorded 14 stops, three tackles for a loss, and one sack.

The defensive end has traveled around the league since being selected in the fifth round of the 2013 draft by the Bucs, so this is a welcome bit of stability for him. Before coming to Atlanta, he also spent some time with the Eagles and had stints on the Ravens’ and Texans’ practice squads.

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Falcons Shift Scout To Coaching Staff

  • The Falcons will move one of their scouts to their coaching staff. After serving as a pro scout last year, Bob Kronenberg will become the team’s assistant offensive line coach, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A former offensive lineman at the pro level, Kronenberg has been with the Falcons for eight years.

Falcons Re-Sign LB Bruce Carter

Bruce Carter caught on with the Falcons early last season after spending the offseason unattached. He earned a longer look in Atlanta as a result of his 2018 work.

The Falcons announced they have re-signed the linebacker to a one-year deal on Monday.

This is Carter’s fourth team, with the Falcons following the Cowboys, Buccaneers and Jets. He has not been a regular starter since his Dallas days in the early 2010s, but the 30-year-old off-ball ‘backer played in 11 Falcon games last season.

A former Dallas second-round pick, Carter played one season with the Bucs (2015) before being a Jet for two years. He has carved out a nice role for himself as an experienced backup. Carter made 21 tackles last season, helping a Falcons team that lost Deion Jones for an extended time period on opening night.

Carter’s most notable NFL contributions came in 2014, when he intercepted five passes for the 12-4 Cowboys. He has 327 career tackles.

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Falcons Hire Bob Sutton

The Falcons have hired former Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton as a senior assistant, the club announced today.

Atlanta fired DC Marquand Manuel earlier this offseason but doesn’t plan on hiring a new coordinator to replace him. Instead, head coach Dan Quinn will call defensive plays going forward. Sutton, who was relieved of his Kansas City duties following the Chiefs’ AFC Championship Game loss, will handle “in-game strategy, clock management, time-out usage and replay review,” per the Falcons’ press release.

Indeed, Sutton appears to be taking over game day responsibilities that were originally intended for Kyle Flood, Atlanta’s former assistant offensive line coach. Flood was supposed to be tasked with assisting Quinn with in-game management, but he’s since departed for Alabama’s offensive line coach job. Sutton, 68, is a former collegiate head coach at Army and has held multiple DC jobs in the NFL, so he’ll offer another set of eyes and ears for Quinn.

If Quinn at any point during the 2019 season decides to give up-play calling, Sutton would become a logical candidate to take over those obligations. The only other coach on the Falcons’ staff with defensive play-calling experience is Raheem Morris, and he’s been coaching on the offensive side of the ball since 2016.

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Bengals Cast Wide Net In DC Search

The Bengals are casting a wide net in their search for a defensive coordinator and other defensive staffers, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The club is expected to request (or has requested) interviews with former Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, Texas A&M DC Mike Elko, Florida DC Todd Grantham, and Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn.

The Bengals made an offer to veteran coach Dom Capers this week, but he turned them down and is now believed to be Miami-bound. Capers, 68, would have given the Bengals a Rams replica of sorts as he would have supported 33-year-old head coach Zac Taylor. The Bengals also flirted with former Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, an indication they would prefer a veteran counterweight to Taylor.

Outside of Grantham, however, the coaches they’re now considering are on the younger side of 50. That could indicate a change in philosophy for Cincinnati. Or, it could be a case of the old adage – beggars can’t be choosers.

As previously reported, the Bengals also requested an interview with Rams DB coach Aubrey Pleasant.

Brooks Reed Bids Farewell To Falcons

This appears to be the end of the line for the Falcons and Brooks Reed. On Wednesday, the defensive end took to Instagram to bid farewell to Atlanta. 

Thankful to have been a part of the Atlanta Falcons for the last four years,” Reed wrote. “It has been an incredible journey and I’m so grateful to the city of Atlanta, the Falcons organization, my teammates, and all who have supported me along the way. I walk away with lifelong friendships and memories I will cherish forever. I’m not done yet, and can’t wait to see what’s next!”

Reed was set to carry a $5.44MM cap figure in the final year of a five-year deal. By releasing him, the Falcons will save $4.5MM against the cap with just $940K in dead money.

Last year, Reed finished out with 24 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 56 ranked edge defender in the NFL. It’s a drop-off from 2017 when he was ranked as the No. 31 edge rusher in the league by PFF and 39 tackles and four sacks.

Prior to joining Atlanta in 2015, Reed spent the first four years of his career with the Texans. The former second-round pick will now seek to join his third NFL team, unless a Houston reunion is in the cards.

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Falcons To Release Matt Bryant

The Falcons are parting ways with kicker Matt Bryant. The club informed him of his impending release, according to an announcement from Bryant on social media. 

“I was informed last night that the team was moving on from my services and that I would be released,” Bryant wrote. “I want to say thank you to all the fans that have stood with me and my family during our time here. I take great pride in my body of work on and off the field. I hope I have represented you well while I was here. It was an honor to be a part of some big moments in this franchise’s history. This chapter is now closed. I look forward to bringing the success and consistency that I’ve produced to my next team.”

Bryant has repeatedly said that he plans to play into his age-44 season. His age could work against him in free agency, but his 2018 season proved that he still has something left in the tank. Bryant connected on 20 of 21 field goals, including a 57-yarder, giving him a 95.2% completion percentage. He also sank 33 of 35 extra point tries.

Bryant signed a three-year, $10.5MM extension with Atlanta last offseason that would have carried him through the 2020 season. Under the old deal, he would have made $2.45MM base salary in ’19.

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