The Atlanta Falcons announced today that they have released cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker Stephen Nicholas. Here’s what Jay Adams, of AtlantaFalcons.com said about the two players in his post:
Nicholas, 6-3, 236 pounds, played in 101 games with 51 starts in seven seasons with the Falcons. He logged 397 total tackles (284 solo) with 10 sacks, two interceptions, five forced fumbles, and 12 passes defensed. Nicholas was selected by the Falcons in the fourth round (109th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft.
Samuel, 5-10, 185 pounds, spent two seasons with the Falcons and notched 70 tackles (62 solo) with six interceptions and 20 passes defensed. Samuel was originally selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round (120th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft.
Asante Samuel didn’t play much for the Falcons last season, dealing with injuries and only managed to pick off one pass for the team. With several young, talented cornerbacks, Samuel’s loss probably won’t hurt the team too much.
However, Atlanta doesn’t have that luxury at the linebacker position and they are going to need to bring someone in (either the draft or free agency) to fill the void he’ll be leaving and increase the depth of the position.
The defense of the Atlanta Falcons was terrible last year (5th most yards per game allowed and 6th most points allowed), and these are the first of what should be many moves to come to make the unit better next year.