Atlanta Falcons: Three potential veteran cuts
1. Brooks Reed, DE
At 30-years old, defensive end Brooks Reed is one of the few veterans on the Atlanta Falcons defense. He came over in 2015 via a five-year contract worth up to $22 million.
Reed was a second round pick in 2011 for the Houston Texans, and while he played well, he never developed into a star for them. In four seasons he had 169 tackles and 14.5 sacks. He showed enough that Atlanta thought he could bring some heat off the edge in their scheme.
Instead, Reed has been average at best. He’s started 12 of 28 games played in two seasons and has 38 tackles. He recorded zero sacks in his first year under contract in Atlanta and added just two in 2016.
One of the biggest reasons Reed is on the chopping block is the first round pick for Atlanta, defensive end Takkarist McKinley. The UCLA product should be a starter as soon as he is fully healthy — he had shoulder surgery in February, but is cleared to practice.
A less-obvious reason for Reed’s potential exodus is former Oakland Raiders fifth-round pick Jack Crawford. After two seasons with the Raiders, Crawford found his way to the Dallas Cowboys. In three seasons with them he performed very well as a spot pass rusher.
Crawford has 9.5 career sacks, all which came in that three-year span — and 7.7 of them were within the past two seasons. He signed a three-year deal with Atlanta and will be heavy in their rotation, thus making Reed expendable.