Ashley Lelie became the first of the Falcons several free agents to depart for another team, signing a two-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
Lelie was acquired by the Falcons last August, in a three-way trade which sent running back T.J. Duckett to Washington, and Lelie was sent over from Denver. Lelie would eventually earn the starting job opposite Michael Jenkins after the first month of the season. He finished with 28 catches for 430 yards (15.4 avg) and 1 score.
He was originally a first round pick by the Broncos in 2002, but had been a disappointment for the most part in his four years in Denver. Lelie will likely have a chance to start for the 49ers in 2007, after they release their leading receiver Antonio Bryant this off-season.
Lelie’s role on the Falcons may be replaced by veteran receiver Joe Horn, who could be visiting the team at some point this weekend. Also the team could promote 2005 first round pick Roddy White into the starting lineup permanently. White started the five games early last year, before losing his job to Lelie.