The Falcons cut their losses at $600,000 and released linebacker Lofa Tatupu on Wednesday.
Tatupu suffered a pectoral injury while lifting weights last Thursday. Because his weight-lifting injury did not occur on the team’s premises, the Falcons were able to avoid owing him an additional $750,000 he was set to receive as a base salary and term his dismissal as a non-football injury.
Tatupu, a former Pro Bowler, who was trying to make a comeback after sitting out last season, had pectoral surgery Tuesday. The surgery will not allow him to play this season.
With the Falcons looking to replace leading tackler Curtis Lofton, Tatupu and Akeem Dent worked out with the first-team defense during the offseason.
Tatupu signed to a two-year, $3.6 million contract in March. He received a guaranteed $600,000 signing bonus and had a $1.25 million playing time escalator clause in his contract. His signing bonus will be counted against this year’s salary cap.
Tatupu, 29, a three-time Pro Bowler, didn’t play in 2011 after spending six seasons with Seattle. He was a first-team All-Pro selection after the 2007 season. He contemplated retirement, but elected to give it another try with the Falcons.
He was signed in March and basically received $600,000 for attending organized team activities and the mandatory minicamp.
In addtion to the Tatupu move, the Falcons signed wide receiver Tim Toone and defensive tackle Elisha Joseph.
They placed defensive tackle Corey Peters (foot injury) on the active, non-football injury list and waived safety Chad Faulcon.
Toone, who played at Weber State, was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2010. He was the last pick in the draft, earning the Mr. Irrelevant tag.
He has spent time on the practice squads in Detroit, Buffalo and Denver.
With Peters expected to miss at least three more weeks with a foot injury, Joseph, who’s 6-foot-2 and 290 pounds, was needed for depth. He played at Temple. He’s spent time on Pittsburgh’s practice squad.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog