The Atlanta Falcons cut ties with veteran defensive end Ray Edwards on Monday.
Edwards, who agreed to a five-year deal with the Falcons in 2011, was a big commodity in free agency after posting 29.5 sacks with the Minnesota Vikings in five seasons. Edwards has been active in each of the Falcons’ games this season but has been used sparingly, starting four of nine games with just nine tackles and no sacks.
The surprising news comes on the heels of the Falcons’ first loss of the season, 31-27 to the New Orleans Saints.
Edwards was supposed to give the Atlanta Falcons a fearsome pass rush. Turns out, he wasn’t even good enough to stay on the team.
Still, it really wasn’t all that surprising given the stunning lack of production by Edwards since signing a five-year, $30 million deal that included $11 million in guaranteed money.
The 27-year-old defensive end provided little help in his first year with the Falcons, and his playing time steadily dwindled this season. Kroy Biermann earned the bulk of the playing time at left end, while 34-year-old John Abraham remained the team’s most effective rusher.
The Falcons were looking to give some Abraham some help when they signed Edwards shortly after the lockout ended in 2011. He seemed like a solid choice.
”Me and Abraham are definitely going to be a great tandem,” Edwards said at his introductory news conference. ”We’ll work on playing off each other and causing a lot of havoc.”
But after undergoing knee surgery during the lockout, he struggled to regain full mobility. Edwards had just 3 1/2 sacks in what turned out to be his only full season with the Falcons, far below the production (16 1/2 sacks) in his final two years with the Vikings.
Also, he never seemed to be a good fit in Atlanta’s tight-knit locker room, his seemingly lackadaisical attitude summed up by the song booming from his locker on his final morning with the team: Lil Wayne’s ”No Worries.”
He should have been worried. Coach Mike Smith has repeatedly said that every player is evaluated on a weekly basis, no matter how well the team is playing.