In the least surprising move of the Falcons’ offseason, they have released fullback Ovie Mughelli, effectively saving them $3 million on the salary cap.
In doing so, the team also eliminated one of the final remnants of the abbreviated Bobby Petrino era.
Few recall this but when Falcons owner Arthur Blank made the ill-fated decision to hand over the reins of his football team to Petrino in 2007, a major move that offseason was the signing of Mughelli. Petrino wanted a bulldozing fullback for his offense.
The former Baltimore Raven was a logical choice. What wasn’t logical was that Blank and then-general manager Rich McKay gave him a six-year, $18 million contract, a record for a fullback.
Mughelli wasn’t an awful player. But when you weigh his salary vs. his contribution to the team, it was a bad signing.
It didn’t figure that Mughelli would see the final year of his contract. The Falcons need the cap space and they drafted a fullback (Wisconsin’s Bradie Ewing) in the fifth round. Further, the team is holding a mini-camp this week and logically didn’t want to have to deal with questions about Mughelli’s status.
With the NFL recently granting the Falcons a $3 million salary cap credit for Michael Vick’s contract, the team is pretty decent shape with the cap. Conceivably, the might even have some space to sign a player who is cut from another team for cap reasons over the next few weeks.
Bottom line: Five years later, one mistake is now off the books.
By Jeff Schultz