The Atlanta Falcons have released edge rusher Dante Fowler according to their official site.
Fowler was signed two years ago to a big-money three-year deal in 2020 after his 11.5 sack season with the LA Rams.
Fowler battled injuries his first season and was an outright bust with the Falcons in 2020. He managed just 23 tackles and three sacks last season. He was such a disappointment that the final year of his contract was voided. He agreed to a pay cut in 2021, saving the Falcons roughly $6 million in 2021.
The new deal heavily incentivized Fowler based on productivity. He would receive a $1 million bonus if he reached five sacks, $2 Million for seven sacks, etc… etc..
He finished 2021 with 4.5 sacks.
According to Spotrac, Fowler will still count $4.5 million against the cap in 2022 because of his 2020 $14 million signing bonus, but he fell well short of the $45 million deal he signed in 2020.
The Falcons will look to free agency and what appears to be a deep draft class for multiple edge rushers. While Fowler wasn’t overly productive, no one on the team had more than two sacks last season as the Falcons managed a paltry 18 all season… 11 short of the 31st ranked Philadelphia Eagles.
Steven Means started opposite Fowler and managed just two tackles for loss without registering a sack all season.
Former general manager Thomas Dimitroff spent some money trying to upgrade the Falcons woeful pass rush, but unfortunately for him and the Falcons, Fowler wasn’t the answer.