The Atlanta Falcons parted ways with 20 players on Saturday, trimming their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players. Here’s a closer look at the final moves:
Most significant move: Fourth-year defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman has been an enigma since the Falcons drafted him in the second round out of Minnesota in 2014, and he continues to vex the Falcons after being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list Saturday. Hageman is suspended for domestic violence-related charges. His legal case concluded last month in metro Atlanta and the NFL continues to investigate. The duration of his suspension is to be determined.
Extra running backs: The Falcons kept five running backs, starting with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. It wasn’t a shock that free-agent fullback Derrick Coleman (Seahawks) made the squad to replace Patrick DiMarco, who left via free agency to join the Bills. Fifth-round draft choice Brian Hill did not have a good training camp or preseason, but Atlanta brass apparently continue to like the big guy’s potential. Former college free agent Terron Ward, who has shuttled between the practice squad and the active roster for the past two seasons, also made the team. For now. Ward, Hill or Coleman will have to play special teams.
Deep on the D-line: Even with Hageman’s suspension, the Falcons are left with a lot of defensive linemen, leaving the possibility that a trade may be considered, perhaps to acquire an offensive guard. In addition to starting D-linemen Grady Jarrett, Dontari Poe, Brooks Reed/Adrian Clayborn and Courtney Upshaw/Derrick Shelby, the team retains first-round draft choice Takk McKinley and Jack Crawford.
Released (12): S Marcelis Branch; OT Daniel Brunskill; WR Deante Burton; WR Reggie Davis; OL Cornelius Edison; WR Marvin Hall; DE J'Terius Jones; DE Chris Odom; TE Josh Perkins; RB Jhurell Pressley; DL Taniela Tupou; DT Joe Vellano.
Injured reserve (1): S Quincy Mauger.
Injury settlement (1): TE Darion Griswold.
Reserve/suspended (1): CB Jalen Collins.
Practice squad exemption (1): TE Alex Gray.
Reserve/commissioner exempt (1): Ra’Shede Hageman.