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NFL Atlanta Falcons

NFL Rumors: Atlanta Falcons to Cut DE Ray Edwards

Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

The Atlanta Falcons suffered their first casualty of the season in the loss to the New Orleans Saints, and now it appears that the fallout from the Falcons first loss has begun.

NFL Insider Jay Glazer is reporting that in what is a big surprise move, the Falcons are going to part ways with DE Ray Edwards.

Edwards was supposed to be a big-name free agent pickup from the Minnesota Vikings in 2011 to bookend John Abraham on the other side of the defensive line, but has been a big disappointment, compiling only 3.5 sacks and 32 tackles in 1 1/2 seasons with Atlanta. When Edwards agreed to a five-year deal in 2011 with the Falcons, he had posted 31.5 sacks with the Vikings in five seasons.

The Falcons front office and head coach Mike Smith have not commented on Edwards’ release yet, or discussed how the snaps at DE will be divided now, although as sparingly as Edwards was used this season, it shouldn’t bring a lot of change to the rotation.

Edwards’ release could possibly open the door for more playing time for rookie DE Jonathan Massaquoi, who the Falcons took as the second of two fifth round (164th overall) draft choices in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Currently the Falcons rank 25th in the league in rushing defense (129.8 ypg), and 19th in passing defense (235.8 ypg), so some changes to the defense should have been expected.

Edwards was paid a base salary of $3 million this season, and was due $5 million per year over the next three seasons. Salary cap hit for 2013-15 would be $7 million, $6.5 million and $6.5 million.

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Michael Collins is a Rant Sports NFL and MLB Network Manager, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook