The Atlanta Falcons offensive line was better in 2012, but still not great. The release of offensive tackle Tyson Clabo today could be construed as another move towards improving that line, or it could simply be a means of saving some salary cap space, of which the Falcons have very little right now.
Clabo has been durable if nothing else, having never missed a game since 2007 and starting in 80 games over the last five years. But the former undrafted free agent seemed to take a slight step backwards in 2012, as his counterpart on the other side of the line–Sam Baker–made huge strides in improving his game, and was rewarded with a new deal.
If this is indeed a move to free up money, the only logical conclusion is that the money would be used in getting quarterback Matt Ryan‘s extension done. Atlanta has used up any money they planned on spending for free agents, and the Ryan deal is really the only money concern the team has pending.
But it could be more. The Falcons management could be looking at possibly moving up in the draft to take one of the top offensive tackles to replace Clabo. The right side of the line has been a concern for a couple of seasons, and now with free agent running back Steven Jackson on the team, this could be a move to try and solve some of the run blocking issues.
Clabo was slated to earn a base salary of $4.5 million in the 2013 season, but will more than likely have no problem finding a team who will snatch him up, as there is a shortage of even mid-line offensive tackles available right now.