In a fairly surprising move, the Atlanta Falcons released long time right tackle and 2010 Pro Bowler Tyson Clabo. The former Wake Forest product may not have always been lights out as he was in 2010, but he’s surely been solid and one of the biggest stalwarts on the Falcons otherwise unsettled and inconsistent offensive line.
In terms of pure numbers, it’s not hard to see why the Falcons made the move, at least in the long term. Clabo had $11.5 million guaranteed in his contract and had been paid $6.85 mill to date. Very rough estimates only had the Falcons saving $1.4 million this year and creating well over $4 million in dead money (which seems to piling up) this season, but takes him completely off the books after this season.
It’s hard to believe this is a move that signals the Falcons will use the money on the open market but more about clearing the space for the future while also going ahead and doing the inevitable. Flowery Branch appears to be fulfilling the promise of getting younger on the offensive line. Clabo was 31 years of age and would turn 32 during the season. In fact, the Falcons OL looks to have a starting five all under the age of 30, with only Justin Blalock nearing that mark.
It’s definitely somewhat of a risk letting go of a former Pro Bowl right tackle and one of the biggest linemen of the group. He may have dipped some since 2010, but he still was solid. This year, however, did see him as one of the major weaknesses on the line. Todd McClure shared that some, as did rookie Peter Konz. It was a shrewd move, but a good one moving forward.
Some think that the Falcons will now look early in the draft to fill that void, but they may be mistaken when draft day rolls around. Right now, the early candidates looks like 3rd round pick Lamar Holmes moving to right tackle and will likely work next to Garrett Reynolds at right guard, unless another candidate beats him out. Holmes may not have the experience, but he surely has more athletic upside on the perimeter.
Best Wishes to a Darn Good Falcon!
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