Teams around the NFL, including the Atlanta Falcons, will play a football game this week. But it’s still the preseason, so the story topics for each team remain somewhat limited.
Therefore, it’s completely natural to have bold predictions this time of year. It’s only a problem if those predictions go too far.
That appears to be the case for Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox, who argued on August 7 that veteran running back Cordarrelle Patterson was a cut candidate for the Falcons.
It would be a surprise if the Atlanta Falcons parted with runner/receiver/returner Cordarrelle Patterson because of his roster versatility. It is a possibility, though, because the Falcons could release him and save $4.3 million in 2023 cap space.Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox
The reality is that Atlanta no longer needs Patterson as a running back. It has a 1,000-yard rusher in Tyler Allgeier and a potential superstar in rookie first-round pick Bijan Robinson. The rookie is already shining as a dual-threat in training camp.
With Robinson set to take over Patterson’s backfield role, the 32-year-old may have to return to being a wide receiver to see significant playing time. With targets like Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller at Desmond Ridder’s disposal, Patterson may have trouble sticking there too.
It may all boil down to how much Atlanta values Patterson’s versatility and special-teams value. If the Falcons identify another capable returner by the end of the preseason, Patterson could be on the move.
Where to begin?
Knox is correct that Robinson is excelling at training camp. He is also right that Robinson’s due to have a sizable role for the Falcons, which could cut into Patterson’s playing time.
But Knox made the argument himself why claiming Patterson as a cut candidate is a ridiculous take. Patterson is one of the most versatile players in the entire NFL. Period. And head coach Arthur Smith loves offensive weapons, not just players tied to one position.
It’s hard to envision Smith not finding a role for Patterson whether as a depth running back, slot receiver or outside wideout.
Yes, the Falcons have more depth at receiver than last season with the signings of Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller. But those guys aren’t exactly All-Pro candidates. The Falcons are realistically hoping for 300-500 yards from each.
Patterson has recorded nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage the past two seasons combined. He’s averaged 5.4 yards per touch with the Falcons. That’s a guy Smith is going to want on the roster.
Not to mention the role Patterson plays on special teams. He’s the all-time record holder in kickoff returns for touchdowns and covers punts.
The possibility of trading Patterson makes a little more sense. At least in that case, the Falcons will get something in return for the veteran running back.
But to just cut him outright for nothing makes zero sense. In return, the Falcons would gain $4.3 million in cap space, but realistically, what good does that do? Atlanta still possesses almost $7.75 million in cap room as of August 7, and it’s not likely the team will even need that room.
Suggesting Patterson as a possible cut candidate is a step too far even for bold predictions.