The Atlanta Falcons move on from Ricardo Allen, Allen Bailey, and Kurt Benkert
The Atlanta Falcons make their first significant moves of the off-season by cutting Ricardo Allen and Allen Bailey and waiving Kurt Benkert. Allen Bailey and Ricardo Allen should not have been a surprise to anybody as it opens up around $10 million in cap space.
Benkert is a bit of a surprise, I projected him to be on this team in 2021.
The Falcons will now need to find a backup for Matt Ryan for 2021. It’s too early to tell whether that will be his heir apparent early in the draft or a veteran brought in on a cheap contract.
Ricardo has been a fan favorite for years after going through several regime changes, position changes, and a series of injuries. He was an easy player to root for who was the consummate professional on and off the field.
The fan in all of us can be a little sad with the move but it was simply time for the Falcons and Rico to part ways. Whether he wishes to continue his playing career or decides to retire remains to be seen.
He has expressed interest in coaching in the past and judging by the football IQ and leadership he showed on the field he should be able to find a home on a coaching staff.
With the cut of Ricardo, the Atlanta Falcons will head into the off-season with only second-year player Jaylinn Hawkins on the roster at safety. Hawkins played in a very limited role as a rookie in 2020 and certainly can not be expected to be a full-time starter this early in his career.
Allen Bailey played in 31 games with nine starts for the Falcons but was mostly a depth piece.
In his two years with the team, he managed only 2.5 sacks and 41 tackles. This move, while smart for the salary cap, does leave the team even more desperate to find edge help this off-season. Only Dante Fowler and John Cominsky remain on the roster.
With these moves announced, expect the Falcons to be active in free agency in all three positions. I’ll be releasing my defensive positional expectations starting next week where I’ll go into more detail about the options the Falcons have at both edge rusher and safety this off-season.