<
>

Falcons won't offer DE Vic Beasley new deal, which will make him a free agent

play
Why didn't the Falcons opt to retain Beasley? (1:28)

Tim Hasselbeck, Damien Woody and John Fox react to the Falcons' decision to not offer DE Vic Beasley Jr. a new contract. (1:28)

The Atlanta Falcons announced that they will not pursue negotiations with defensive end Vic Beasley Jr., meaning the former NFL sack champion will become a free agent.

"As we continue to craft our 2020 roster, we'd like to thank Vic for five years of effort on behalf of our organization,'' general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in statement Monday.

Beasley tweeted his thanks to the Falcons' organization and teammates Monday evening.

Beasley, who was coach Dan Quinn's first draft pick in 2015, eighth overall, did not show consistency despite leading the NFL with 15.5 sacks in 2016 -- the season the Falcons went to the Super Bowl. Beasley made the Pro Bowl that year but managed just five sacks in each of the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Although Beasley had eight sacks this past season, 6.5 of those came in the second half of the season.

The Falcons finished this season tied for 29th in the league with 28 sacks. Beasley's eight sacks led the team, followed by Grady Jarrett (7.5) and veteran Adrian Clayborn (4).

The Falcons picked up Beasley's fifth-year option at $12.81 million in 2019 with the expectation he would have a resurgent year, particularly with Quinn as the defensive coordinator. But Beasley didn't spend last offseason working with Quinn, as expected, and his decision to work away from the team didn't seem to sit well with the organization.

The Falcons dangled Beasley for a trade before last season's trade deadline with no takers. Beasley told ESPN the trade talk did not serve as motivation to play better in the second half of 2019.

Now that the Falcons have decided to move on, acquiring a pass-rusher via the draft or free agency becomes even more of a priority this offseason. The Falcons hope to get more production out of another former first-rounder, defensive end Takk McKinley, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. The Falcons need more pressure off the edges, particular with the Pro Bowler Jarrett creating havoc on the interior of the defensive line.

Penn State's Yetur Gross-Matos and Iowa's A.J. Epenesa are just a couple of the draft prospects the Falcons might consider to help improve the rush. The Falcons have a new defensive coordinator for 2020 in Raheem Morris.

Beasley finished his time with the Falcons recording 37.5 sacks, 156 tackles and 11 forced fumbles.