Falcons clear up cap space

Photo by AtlantaFalcons.com

The Falcons freed up $6.5 million in cap space by releasing veterans Asante Samuel and Stephen Nicholas. Samuel joined the Falcons in 2012 and hauled in five interceptions, including a 79-yard return for a touchdown. However, the 33-year-old cornerback was replaced on the depth chart by rookie Robert Alford in 2013. Nicholas missed just two games with a thigh injury last year, but rookie linebackers Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow made Nicholas disposable. Nicholas was a 2007 fourth-round pick by Atlanta and led the team in tackles in 2012.

With two defensive veterans getting the pink slip, 32-year-old defensive end Osi Umenyiora expressed his desire to remain in Atlanta this week.

“I understand the business pretty much as well as anybody in football right now,” Umenyiora said in an interview with ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. “I would love to stay, and I think I am. But you really never know what’s going to happen.”

Umenyiora signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract last offseason with a max value of $12 million and his release could save the Falcons $3.5 million this season. The two-time Super Bowl champ has been a great mentor to young defensive ends Jonathan Massaquoi and Malliciah Goodman. With another defensive end and pass rusher on top of the Falcons’ wish list this offseason, having Umenyiora to help mentor—for example—a young Jadeveon Clowney could be valuable.


Missouri defensive end and 2013 SEC De-fensive Player of the Year Michael Sam made world news earlier this week by announcing he was gay. His presence in this year’s NFL Draft will make it a historic occasion that will draw international attention. While the Falcons are just one of 32 teams with a chance to draft Sam, their coaching staff already got the opportunity to work with him at the Senior Bowl this offseason.

“You know what he [Sam] was in college in terms of big plays that he made for Mis-souri,” said Atlanta defensive line coach Bryan Cox. “You look at the [Cotton] bowl game when he had the big strip at the end of the game to win it for the team. So you know that he has some pass-rush ability.” Former Missouri Tigers Sean Weatherspoon and William Moore are starters on the Falcons’ defense and would be good leaders if Atlanta was to draft Sam.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply