FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons cleared $7.8 million under the salary cap by releasing veteran defensive lineman Jamaal Anderson and wide receiver Michael Jenkins on Friday.
Anderson and Jenkins were both former first-round picks.
Anderson taken eighth overall in the 2007 drafted and never blossomed in to the sackmaster that the Falcons envisioned when he was selected. The Falcons passed on future stars Patrick Willis and Darrelle Revis. Willis, a linebacker, went 11th to San Francisco and Revis, a cornerback, went to the Jets with the 14th pick.
Willis has been to four Pro Bowls and has been named an All-Pro three times. Revis has been to three Pro Bowls and has been named All-Pro two times.
Anderson played in 60 games and made 47 starts, but had just 3.5 sacks (The Falcons officially have him for 3.5 sacks. Pro-Football-Reference.com has him for 4.5 sacks. The Falcons gave the credit for the sack against Seattle to Jonathan Babineaux.)
Jenkins was selected with the 29th pick in the 2004 draft.
He was a mainstay in the offense, but never amassed over 100 yards receiving in a game. He had a career-high 53 catches in 2007 and a career-high in yards of 777 in 2008.
Jenkins’ future was in doubt after the Falcons traded five picks to move up 27 spots in the draft to select wide receiver Julio Jones with the sixth pick of the 2011 draft.
With the extra cap room, the Falcons will likely be able to pursue free-agent defensive end Ray Edwards.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog