3 former Atlanta Falcons players we’re glad are gone, 2 we wish stayed

Looking back at some of the hits and misses from recent Falcons' free agency.

Minnesota Vikings v Atlanta Falcons
Minnesota Vikings v Atlanta Falcons / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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It's hard to argue that there's been a more active team in free agency than the Atlanta Falcons. Most of that comes from the $100 million they gave to Kirk Cousins, but contracts for former Bears' wide receiver Darnell Mooney – as well as a few other depth pieces – have kept the Falcons in the news for most of the past 10 days.

It doesn't help that they maybe, potentially, possibly are in some trouble for free agent tampering, but it's hard to be too worried about that when the NFL quite literally allows a "legal tampering" period that runs over three days.

But free agency isn't all about which players are joining – there's also plenty of focus on who's leaving Atlanta this year. Guys like Jeff Okudah, Jonnu Smith, Mack Collins, and Matt Hennessy will all be playing elsewhere next season, and while the Falcons may miss a few plays here and there from that group, ultimately, there hasn't yet been a departure that really feels like it'll impact their season in 2024.

Since it's the offseason, and the NFL Draft isn't for another month or so anyway, let's look back at the last couple of years of Falcons free agency and pick out three guys we've been glad to see leave, and two that we wish stuck around.

3 former Atlanta Falcons players we’re glad are gone

1. Jeff Okudah, CB

In theory, rolling the dice on the former third overall pick made sense.

Okudah had his fair share of struggles with the Lions, but it's not unheard of for players to finally hit their strides in their second stop. Injuries were a problem the first few years in Detroit, and in his final season there, it looked like he was maybe (emphasis on maybe) getting it all together.

A 5th round pick for him, at the time, felt like a totally appropriate gamble. And yet, it's only been a year and the trade is already aging poorly. Okudah appeared in 13 games for the Falcons, starting nine, and played poorly: his tackling and run defense – the two things he brings at a capable level – regressed after 2022, and his coverage skills remained subpar. We don't need to get too into the weeds, but the Pro Football Focus grades were bad. One year later, he's already with a new team.

2. Mack Hollins, WR

"Glad he's gone" is kind of intense for Hollins, who was basically half WR4, half special teams guy. But Hollins' production – 18 receptions for 251 yards and a sub-50% success rate – leaves a bit to be desired, even at WR4. He was a decent special teams guy, but depth wide receivers that can contribute on special teams is exactly what Day 4 of the NFL Draft is for.

Maybe the most die-hard fans will have a hotter take on Hollins' departure, but it feels like he's destined to be Just A Guy in Falcons lore.