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5 players the Falcons must move on from in 2016

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:33 am
by Pudge
How Roddy doesn't make this list and Babs does is beyond me. ... ant-012016

5 players the Falcons must move on from in 2016
The Atlanta Falcons have a few players who they should simply cut ties with and move on from in 2016. Let's take a look at five of the most likely options.

Devin Hester is one player who the Falcons may have to move on from in 2016.
Scott Cunningham / Getty Images North America
By Jeff Smith
Jan 20, 2016 at 4:00p ET
While there are always positions of need for every team heading toward the offseason, let's also not forget that there are going to be players who teams need to consider moving on from, as well. Whether it be due to a decline in production or just a move that benefits the team's salary cap, the following players for the Falcons may not be back in Atlanta in 2016.

1. Devin Hester

While I'm just as much of a fan of the electrifying kick or punt return as the next person, it's simply time to move on. Hester was fairly effective as a wide receiver for the Falcons in 2014, catching 38 passes for 504 yards and two touchdowns, but he didn't register a single catch in 2015. To top it off, he had just 34 punt-return yards and 235 kick return yards over five games. While it'd be nice to keep Hester in town for his big-play potential, it's simply not worth it from a monetary perspective.

Hester's 2016 cap number is $3,833,334, and if he was cut it would result in just $833,334 in dead money, while saving the Falcons $3 million against the cap. Basically, it seems to be a no-brainer move at this point, and would allow Atlanta to find another offensive weapon at wide receiver.

2. Justin Durant

Durant had a ton of potential heading into his first year with the Falcons, and while his numbers don't look terrible, he struggled in many different areas. The issues were glaring in both the pass game and the run game, which may wind up resulting in the Falcons looking for a linebacker to replace Durant with in 2016.

Durant is currently 30 and has played for four different NFL teams. While he was hoping to have found a home with the Falcons, the way his contract lays out in 2016 may result in him being a cap casualty. He's due a total of $3,182,291 next season, but if he's released it will cost the Falcons just $833,334 in dead money, while freeing up $2,348,957 in cap space.

3. Jonathan Babineaux

Babineaux played in all 16 games for the Falcons in 2015, but started in just four of them. While his 30 combined tackles, two passes defensed, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one interception isn't bad, it's likely not going to be enough to justify keeping him around. Babineaux is costing the Falcons $2,666,668 in 2016, but if the team chose to part ways with him, they'd clear up $2 million in cap space, while leaving themselves with just $666,668 in dead money. Babineaux may have talent, but he's just not going to be worth holding onto in 2016.

Jonathan Babineaux is 34 and started just two games for the Falcons in 2015. His contract may make him a cap casualty in 2016.

Scott Cunningham / Getty Images
4. Levine Toilolo

To put this as gently as possible, Toilolo's time with the Falcons will likely be coming to an end in 2016. While he may be just 24 years old currently, he's shown no signs of being an offensive weapon for the Falcons, and Atlanta needs a tight end who can have a major impact on the passing game. Through three seasons with the team, Toilolo has totaled just 49 receptions for 337 yards and four touchdowns. In total this past season, he had 44 receiving yards and no touchdowns.

No, Toilolo isn't breaking the bank for the Falcons, but he can be released and save the team $675,000 in salary cap, while also resulting in just $75,146 in dead money. Atlanta needs to find their future at the tight end position, potentially in the form of Hunter Henry from Arkansas or O.J. Howard from Alabama in the 2016 NFL draft.

5. Adrian Clayborn

The Falcons signed Clayborn to a one-year deal this past offseason, and while he showed glimpses of being the playmaker we saw at times with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he wasn't consistent. The Falcons as a group ranked last in the NFL in total sacks in 2015 with 19, while Clayborn himself finished up with 16 combined tackles, just three sacks and a fumble recovery.

Clayborn may not cost a ton for the Falcons to bring back, but regardless, Atlanta needs to look at free agency and the draft to attempt to figure out their pass-rush woes. He earned a one-year deal worth $3 million, but is likely only going to get another short term deal after his showing with the Falcons this past season.