Atlanta's free-agent class disappears

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- So much for that Atlanta free-agent class of 2012. It basically is all gone.

Moments before hitting the practice field, the Falcons announced they have released guard Vince Manuwai. That comes after the Falcons released middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who suffered a season-ending injury.

Manuwai and Tatupu both sat out last season and signed with the Falcons this spring. Atlanta drew lots of criticism for not being more active in free agency. They didn’t give big money to Tatupu or Manuwai because both were older and had a history of injuries. The Falcons also viewed the two veterans as short-term solutions, at best.

We’ll find out more on Manuwai’s release after practice. But I think it’s fair to speculate that the Falcons decided to stick with a group of young interior linemen that they have stockpiled. They drafted guard/center Peter Konz in the second round this year. They also have Joe Hawley, Garrett Reynolds and Mike Johnson. It’s likely the Falcons will let those guys compete for the starting guard job opposite Justin Blalock.

I’m off to the practice field and will be back with more in a few hours.