Falcons news: Club will lose 3 in free agency, Andy Levitre to remain

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 02: Devonta Freeman
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 02: Devonta Freeman /

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff announced on Wednesday that Taylor Gabriel and Kemal I shmael will not be re-signed by the team, but Andy Levitre will be back.

Free agency is less than two weeks away (March 14) and the Atlanta Falcons have already begun prioritizing who will be leaving Atlanta and who will be retained.

Per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, general manager Thomas Dimitroff said linebacker Kemal Ishmael will not be re-signed by the Falcons.

Ishmael totaled 81 tackles in two seasons in Atlanta.

Wide Receiver Taylor Gabriel, a fan favorite in Atlanta, also will not be back in 2018.

In his first season in offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s system, he was not utilized enough or the same way he was in Atlanta’s 2016 Super Bowl run.

In 2016, Gabriel was known as a deep ball threat that quarterback Matt Ryan could rely on when the ball wasn’t going downfielfd for Julio Jones. In 2016, Gabriel totaled 35 receptions for 579 yards and six touchdowns.

Production declined in 2017 with 33 receptions for 378 yards and only one touchdown.

Dimitroff also announced that defensive tackle Dontari Poe will be let go in free agency.

Poe was brought in on a one-year deal by the Falcons and did not meet expectations to be the dominant defensive run stopper they envisioned him to be. In 2017, he totaled 39 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Dimitroff said that he sees Poe playing elsewhere in 2018 and thanked him for his efforts.

Dimitroff is optimistic about guard Andy Levitre staying healthy and making an impact on the offensive line  and thus he will remain a Falcon in 2018.

At the end of 2017, Levitre was plagued by a triceps injury that forced him to miss three straight games. He attempted to play in the Falcons’  regular-season finale against the Panthers, but he aggravated the injury.

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The result was him being placed on injured reserve and missing the playoffs. Prior to the injury, he made 140 consecutive NFL starts.