The Atlanta Falcons announced several roster moves today, including the release of 11 players and placing of four on various reserve lists to get down to the league-mandated 75-man roster limit before Tuesday’s deadline. The ten players released were defensive end Theo Agnew, linebackers Brenden Daley and Darin Drakeford, cornerback Devonta Glover-Wright, safety Tyrell Johnson, wide receivers Julian Jones and Tramaine Thompson, quarterback Jeff Mathews, defensive end Walker May, running back Jerome smith and tight end Brian Wozniak. The team also placed offensive lineman Mike Johnson and linebacker Marquis Spruill on injured reserve, while wide receiver Drew Davis and safety Zeke Motta were formally placed on the reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.
Besides Johnson and Drakeford, all of the players released by the Falcons were first-year players that were signed by the Falcons after the 2014 draft as undrafted free agents. Johnson is a vested veteran and won’t be exposed to waivers like the rest of the players. Drakeford was added following Spruill’s knee injury earlier this month. Of the players released, all except Jones were listed as vulnerable to being released. Jones was waived instead of Freddie Martino, who received less reps during the preseason.
Spruill tore his ACL 17 days ago and the Falcons held off on trying to place him on injured reserve until now because he would have been exposed to waivers prior to this week’s cutdown deadline. Johnson suffered a foot injury last night against the Tennessee Titans and will for the third time in his fifth NFL season be placed on season-ending injured reserve.
The placement of Davis and Motta on the PUP list was expected. It was reported earlier this week that Davis’ recovery from July foot surgery was going slower than expected. Motta has been out all offseason long trying to recover from a neck injury suffered in Week 16 last season. Motta is not expected to suit up at all this year, but his placement on the PUP list does keep the door open for a possible return later this season. He and Davis will miss the first six weeks of the regular season, being unable to practice with the Falcons. Thereafter, there will be a five-week window during which either can return to practice. Upon returning to practice, there will also be a three-week window in which they are granted a roster exemption before the Falcons must decide to elevate either to the active roster. If the Falcons do not choose to elevate either by then, they will finish the season on the injured reserve.
The Falcons will have to make other roster cuts to get down to 53 players by Saturday afternoon, with one more preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night to decide which 22 players won’t make the cut.