Four veterans will be among the Atlanta Falcons final cuts in two weeks.
The Atlanta Falcons have been in full contact training camp for a week and two weeks of a gradual ramp-up period. This has obviously been an offseason like no other will very little evaluation periods and that is going to hurt a lot of the younger players on most rosters.
However, for the Atlanta Falcons, there is a lot of new young talent in training camp and guys like Matt Hennessy, Matt Gono, A.J. Terrell, and Mychal Walker are all making a lot of noise and garnering a lot of attention.
With all the turnover from the 2019 roster, how will that affect the 2020 cuts? Let’s take a look at the four Atlanta Falcons veterans that could find themselves on the outside looking in September 6th.
Side note: We only looked at players that were beyond their initial rookie contracts.
Sharrod Neasman – Safety
Sharrod Neasman has spent most of his first four years in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons. He spent the 2018 offseason with the Saints but the Falcons brought him back after the Saints cut him in September 2018.
He has appeared in 41 games for the Falcons as a backup. With the emergence of starting safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen back as well as J.J. Wilcox and Damontae Kazee both healthy and back in 2020, there doesn’t seem to be room for Neasman on the final roster.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson – Corner
Blidi Wreh-Wilson is entering his eighth year in the NFL and his fifth with the Atlanta Falcons. He has been a good veteran presence for the Falcons over the last few years and is one a handful of guys left over from the 2016 Super Bowl roster.
With the additions of A.J. Terrell, Darqueze Darnell, and the development of Isaiah Oliver, Jordan Miller, and Kendall Sheffield, the Falcons are in really good hands in the secondary without his services.
James Carpenter – Guard
This might be the most controversial of them all, which speaks to how nearly cut and dry this 2020 Atlanta Falcons roster actually is. There aren’t a lot of spots where you see a lot of competition but James Carpenter is getting all he can handle at left guard.
While initially penciled in as the starter, the first week of contact has also seen rookie Matt Hennessy, as well as Matt Gono, take left guard snaps with the first-team offense.
This is one of those positions that the coaching staff is going to have to go with its gut feeling because there is no preseason to look back on and they will simply have to rely on what they saw every day in practice.
The good news is that with all the competition for this spot, left guard should be much improved for 2020 and hopefully Matt Ryan will get fewer looks at the sky.
Matt Schaub – Quarterback
Yes, we know a broken record. However, backup quarterback Matt Schaub is in rare company – not many players last 17 years in any professional sport, let alone football.
The only active players currently on a roster older than Matt Schaub are quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees along with Cowboys long snapper L.P. Ladouceur. While Schaub has not had to play a lot of games over the last several years (thrown just 77 passes since 2017) the questions about age and whether or not he is the Falcons best option as a backup quarterback have to be asked.
Last preseason prior to his injury, Kurt Benkert looked like he had come a long way and was going to battle Schaub step for step to take over the number two spot behind Matt Ryan. Without any actual media footage of practice, other than what the team puts out, it is hard to know how the competition for that spot is coming along in 2020.
Veterans can’t play forever and if Benkert is even slightly showing himself to be the best option to backup Matt Ryan, that needs to be the pathway that Dan Quinn and Dirk Koetter pursue.