Falcons release 20 players with no surprises
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons released 14 players Friday, cutting their roster to 73 players with less than one day to meet the NFL’s limit of 53 for the regular season, and acquired tackle Ty Sambrailo from Denver to shore up the offensive line.
Among the cuts, cornerback Akeem King, a seventh-round draft choice out of San Jose State in 2015, was the only player released by the Falcons who had been drafted by the team. He played in five games as a reserve as a rookie and spent all of 2016 on injured reserve.
Atlanta sent a 2018 fifth-round draft pick to Denver for Sambrailo.
It’s not clear whether the Falcons envision him as a backup tackle behind starters Ryan Schraeder and Jake Matthews, or perhaps will convert him to right guard, where Atlanta has auditioned youngsters Wes Schweitzer and Ben Garland to fill the only starting spot lost by the defending NFC champions.
Right guard Chris Chester retired after last season.
Sambrailo, who is 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, was drafted in the second round by Denver in 2015 out of Colorado State, and played in three games as a rookie before a shoulder injury ended his season. He played in 10 games for Denver last season, starting four, at both tackles spots.
Last week, the Falcons signed veteran free agent offensive lineman Austin Pasztor, who played in all 16 games last season with the Browns.
“We felt like that was an important move to solidify the tackle position (behind starters Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder),” said Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn. “Right now, for the short term, (Sambrailo) will be at tackle. He’s actually played tackle, guard and center.”
All but one of the players released Friday other than King were signed as undrafted college free agents or were on futures contracts.
Atlanta parted ways with running back Kelvin Taylor, the son of former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor. He joined the team last month after spending time in 2016 on practice squads in Seattle and San Francisco, where he was a sixth-round draft choice.
Also gone are D.J. Tialavea, a former tight end who spent most of the past two seasons on the Falcons’ practice squad before converting earlier this year to offensive line, kicker Mike Meyer and wide receiver Anthony Dable, a native of France who had never played organized football previously.
The Falcons also released nine undrafted former collegians, including offensive linemen Travis Averill, Larson Graham and Andreas Knappe, defensive lineman A.J. Jefferson (who was signed earlier this week), cornerback Jarnor Jones, linebacker Jack Lynn, wide receiver Josh McGee, fullback Tyler Renew and quarterback Alek Torgersen.
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