Falcons release Douglas, Blalock and others
The Dan Quinn era in Atlanta has begun, and already there have been some nearly shocking moves made by the Falcons’ new staff. In a new trend of NFL teams releasing veteran players, the Atlanta Falcons have released RB Steven Jackson, WR Harry Douglas, G Justin Blalock, and DT Jonathan Massoquoi. While the cutting of Jackson and Massoquoi were expected, letting Douglas and Blalock go was really a slap in the face to Falcons fans like myself.
Douglas has spent all six of his seasons in the NFL with the Falcons after being drafted in 2008 out of Louisville. He has spent the first four seasons of his career behind the likes of elite wide receivers, such as Roddy White and most recently Julio Jones. He had never reached 500 yards in those four years. In 2013, with the injury absence of Roddy and Julio, he tallied 85 catches for 1,067 yards, proving that he could be a number one option. Last year he posted 51 catches for 556 yards, while dealing with multiple injuries. At 30 years old, Douglas could still serve as a nice slot receiver fit for multiple teams. Expect teams such as New England, Denver, and Indianapolis to pursue Harry.
Releasing Justin Blalock was most certainly a surprising move by the Falcons. Blalock, a second round pick in 2007, started all 125 games in which he played in his eight year tenure with Atlanta, including 102 consecutive games between 2007 and 2014. Blalock started 15 games in 2014. In an offensive line that has been decimated by injury the past few years, Blalock had been the only consistent starter. He is now 31 years old now, and new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan may want a younger body to serve in the trenches.
Now that Atlanta has released two former starters, there is now a need to replace both of them. Whether they do it in free agency or the draft. Lucky for the Falcons, they now have north of $30 million freed up in cap space for the offseason. Plenty of money to pursue some of the quality free agents out there this offseason.