Perhaps the most shocking story of the Atlanta Falcons’ free agency comings and goings to date is the release of veteran right tackle Tyson Clabo. Even after a few days’ reflection, it makes little sense.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff always has a plan, and to a point that strategy has to revolve around the dreaded salary cap. There is no doubt that getting a new financially substantial contract in place for quarterback Matt Ryan should be a priority. That being said, no offensive line can subsist on a quarterback alone. It’s a demonstrated fact that taking risks is part of Dimitroff’s modus operandi. When that gamble involves an established force in the offensive line, that gives more than just a little pause for thought.
Clabo certainly didn’t have his best season in 2012, but taking one season as the determining factor in what should be a long-term decision is questionable at best. Other teams reached out to Clabo almost immediately, including the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Dallas Cowboys. They certainly won’t be the only teams that will step up to make offers for his services. Releasing Clabo could prove to be a bigger loss than is warranted.
With this stunning move, what’s the next step for the Falcons? Within the current team, offensive tackle Lamar Holmes would certainly be considered a top candidate for Clabo’s spot. However, free agency isn’t over and the NFL draft is still to come. Feasibly the Falcons have someone specific in mind that they want to procure in the draft; hopefully whoever the pick is will be available when they’re on the clock. If it’s a specific free agent that’s the target, maybe both sides can come together for a secure fit under the salary cap.
Will this contentious discharge contribute to a continued Falcons rise, as is hoped by all?
Only time—and Thomas Dimitroff—will tell.