NFL teams aren’t required to make any roster cuts this month until the final roster cut down day. But the Atlanta Falcons didn’t wait long after their Week 1 preseason matchup to make a surprising cut.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on Sunday afternoon that the Falcons have released linebacker Mykal Walker.
The Falcons drafted Walker in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL draft. He played at least 190 defensive snaps for the team each of the past three seasons.
Walker started six games as a rookie in 2020. Last season, he recorded career-bests of 107 combined tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 6 pass defenses and 2 interceptions while starting a career-high 12 contests.
Overall, Walker played more than two-thirds of the team’s snaps on defense in 2022.
The Falcons waived Walker on Sunday to make room for fellow inside linebacker Frank Ginda. Atlanta announced on Sunday morning that the team had signed Ginda.
While playing for the Michigan Panthers, Ginda won the USFL Defensive Player of the Year award last season.
Even with the addition of Ginda, it’s surprising the Falcons cut Walker. He was expected to be one of the more experienced depth linebackers on the team this season.
Walker is also versatile, with his ability to also play on special teams. He didn’t really play on special teams last year, but in 2021, he lined up for 310 special teams snaps.
Walker’s career with the Falcons ends after 49 games. He recorded 187 combined tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 4 quarterback hits, 1 sack, 11 pass defenses and 3 interceptions. He started 20 of his 49 contests with the team.
Ginda has spent time with the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, and New Orleans Saints. However, he is still waiting to play in his first NFL regular season game.
In addition to the USFL, Ginda has also played in the AAF and XFL.