The Atlanta Falcons released their initial 53-man roster at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, and not 48 hours later, they announced big changes on Thursday afternoon.
The most notable of the changes involves moving former Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones to injured reserve. Jones was one of five falcons to be moved off the active roster on Thursday.
The others included cornerback Isaiah Oliver, defensive lineman Marlon Davidson, offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield, and tight end John Fitzpatrick.
In place of those five players, the team officially added defensive lineman Matt Dickerson and offensive tackle Chuma Edoga, two players they claimed on Wednesday, as well as re-signing defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson, offensive lineman Colby Gossett, and linebacker Nick Kwiatkowski.
Jones was activated off of the Physically Unable to Perform list and participated in the Falcons win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday. That he will not be participating in on-field team activities until at least after Week 4 raises the question if he will be seen again in a Falcons uniform.
Jones carries a $20 million cap hit including a base salary and roster bonus of nearly $15 million, making him impossible to trade, and his $24 million dead-cap hit makes him impossible to cut unless he becomes a detriment to the team.
His dead-cap hit drops to just $5.3 million after this season, meaning the chances of him being a Falcon in 2023 are slim and none.
Mayfield struggled mightily as a rookie in 2021. He was thrown to the fire as the Falcons starting left guard after having played just 14 games at the University of Michigan… as a tackle. He’s been battling a back injury all training camp and preseason and some time off will do him well.
Still just 22-years old, it’s too early to give up on last season’s 68th overall draft pick, but the early returns on Mayfield have been almost entirely negative.
Oliver was playing the best football of his career as a nickleback in defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ scheme, but his season was cut short to a knee injury. He hasn’t quite looked himself in the preseason, and now he has time to recover.
The three re-signed raised eyebrows when they were among the initial cuts. Each of the three, especially Abdullah who AllFalcons lobbied for here and here… were expected to make the initial 53-man roster.
In a sense they did.
It looks like they were in the Falcons plans from the get-go, some clerical work had to be taken care of first.
Abdullah should bolster the defensive line at either end or nose guard and should see snaps Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints.
Gossett is a valuable backup across several positions on the offensive line, and Kwiatkowski adds veteran depth at linebacker allowing second-round pick Troy Andersen more time to learn Pees’ defense.
WR (3), KhaDarel Hodge, Damiere Byrd, Drake London
TE (2), Kyle Pitts, Feleipe Franks
LT (1), Jake Matthews
LG (1), Elijah Wilkinson
C (2), Matt Hennessy or Drew Dalman
RG (2), Chris Lindstrom, Colby Gossett
RT (3), Kaleb McGary, Germain Ifedi, Chuma Edoga (8/31)
TE (1), Parker Hesse
WR (3), Olamide Zaccheaus, Bryan Edwards, Jared Bernhardt
RB (5) , Cordarrelle Patterson, Damien Williams, Keith Smith, , Avery Williams, Tyler Allgeier
QB (2), Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder
OLB (2), Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Arnold Ebiketie
DL (2), Grady Jarrett, Matt Dickerson (8/31)
DL (2), Anthony Rush, Timmy Horne
DL (1), Ta’Quon Graham
OLB (3), Lorenzo Carter, Quinton Bell, DeAngelo Malone
LB (3), Mykal Walker, Nick Kwiatkoski, Troy Andersen
LB (2), Rashaan Evans, Nate Landman
CB (3), A.J. Terrell, Darren Hall, Mike Ford
S (2), Richie Grant, Erik Harris
S (2), Jaylinn Hawkins, Dean Marlowe
CB (2), Casey Hayward, Dee Alford
SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
K (1), Younghoe Koo
P (1), Bradley Pinion
LS (1), Liam McCullough
LB Deion Jones
CB Isaiah Oliver
OL Jalen Mayfield
DL Marlon Davidson
TE John Fitzpatrick
Practice Squad (14)
CB Matt Hankins
CB Teez Tabor
DL Derrick Tangelo
DL Khyiris Tonga
OL Justin Shaffer
OL Ryan Neuzil
OL Tyler Vrabel
OLB Jordan Brailford
RB Caleb Huntley
TE Anthony Firsker
TE MyCole Pruitt
TE Tucker Fisk
WR Cameron Batson
WR Frank Darby
WR Josh Ali