With the 2014 NFL Draft and free agency just around the corner, the Atlanta Falcons are continuing to clean house. On Wednesday, the organization decided to part ways with a familiar face in its locker room in safety Thomas DeCoud. The move will be made official before Mar. 15.
DeCoud, who signed a five-year extension following a Pro Bowl type season just two-years prior, was unable to match that same level of intensity moving forward. DeCoud’s numbers were pretty dismal in 2013 with his only highlight of the season being a 30-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 30.
Throughout the 2013 season, the Falcons’ frustrations just kept getting exponentially worse as the defense was without two of its top playmakers, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and defensive end Kroy Biermann. DeCoud, who was part of the dismembered defense to allow an average of 243 passing yards per game against opponents, was the one to eventually snap during the season. Using his Instagram account, DeCoud barked back at fans, making the statement: “If you don’t know the huddle call, the rules of our defense, or our gameplan, you have no clue what’s going on out there.”
Well, no offense to DeCoud, but regardless of what was called in the huddle, I think the fans knew exactly what was going on. The Falcons’ defense looked silly for the majority of the season, as it ranked dead last on third-down and allowed a conversion rate of over 46 percent against opponents.
Without question, the two areas the Falcons will be addressing this offseason will be on the offensive line and in the pass rush. Luckily with the latest removal of DeCoud, the Falcons will have an extra $3 million in cap space to work with.
The top safeties in the free agent market this year will include Buffalo Bills‘ Jairus Byrd, Cleveland Browns‘ T.J. Ward and maybe Donte Whitner if the San Francisco 49ers don’t decide to extend his stay. Byrd, who is considered as the top rated safety in free agency, is rumored to be the Falcons’ big target, but he comes with a bigger price tag. Hopefully the Falcons can get “more bang for their buck” in the free agent route.