<
>

Falcons reach injury settlement with guard Jon Asamoah

The Atlanta Falcons parted ways with a veteran they thought would help them move forward when they reached an injury settlement with guard Jon Asamoah.

The move saves the Falcons $3.5 million in cash and $1.9 million in cap space next year. Asamoah will be off the books in 2017.

Asamoah, who started 15 games for the Falcons in 2014, was placed on injured reserve prior to the start of this season with a hip injury. The injury settlement means he is now a free agent.

The Falcons signed Asamoah, a former Kansas City Chief, to a five-year, $22.5 million contract before the '14 season with hopes of establishing stability at guard. Asamoah was better known as a pass protector from his right guard spot, but he was not an ideal fit for new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's outside-zone blocking scheme that requires solid lateral movement.

Asamoah was drafted in the third round by Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli when Pioli was the Chiefs general manager. Asamoah's departure does not reflect well on Pioli or general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Falcons owner Arthur Blank is evaluating the front office situation.

Asamoah was part of a Falcons' free-agent class that included nose tackle Paul Soliai and defensive tackle Tyson Jackson. Soliai, who has shown flashes this season, signed a five-year, $32 million deal ($14 million guaranteed). Jackson, who has had minimal impact, signed a five-year, $25 million deal ($11 million guaranteed).

Losing Asamoah doesn't hurt the offense line just based on the scheme being played, but guard continues to be an area that needs to be addressed. Right guard Chris Chester was signed to a one-year, $2.8 million deal and has been OK at times. Left guard Andy Levitre, who was acquired in a trade with Tennessee, continues to struggle and is tied with cornerback Robert Alford for the team lead with nine penalties. Levitre has base salaries of $4 million, $5.25 million, and $7 million the next three seasons after having a $1.5 million base this season.