Following their first loss of the 2012 season on Sunday to the New Orleans Saints 31-27, the Atlanta Falcons decided to part ways with defensive end Ray Edwards after releasing the seven-year pro on Monday.
The Falcons signed the 27-year old Edwards to a five-year, $30 million deal with $11 million in guaranteed money prior to last season in the hopes that the former Minnesota Vikings pass rusher could bolster the Falcons pursuit on opposing quarterbacks as he did while in Minnesota.
Instead during Edwards tenure in Atlanta which lasted just 23 games he recorded just 41 tackles and 3.5 sacks. In fact this season Edwards started just four of the teams nine games, lost a significant amount of his playing time at the left defensive end position to Kroy Biermann and recorded just nine tackles and zero sacks.
While with the Vikings Edwards tallied 29.5 sacks in five seasons playing opposite of Jared Allen and the Falcons were expecting similar results out of him along with star defensive end John Abraham as a book end in Atlanta. Edwards underwent knee surgery during last season’s lockout and that definitely affected his mobility last season which is why he recorded just 3.5 sacks, however this season it seemed as if he no longer possessed the drive and determination to compete which is why not only were numbers drastically reduced but so was his actual playing time as well.
Head coach Mike Smith reminded his team that each player is evaluated on a week to week basis no matter how well or not the team may be performing. After their first loss of the season it was apparent that Smith was not only extremely serious but felt that an immediate change needed to be made in order to get his team back on the winning track.