Update: This is now official.
The Falcons have officially released safety Thomas DeCoud
— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) March 11, 2014
In a move that had been reportedly brewing for weeks and months, the Atlanta Falcons officially released veteran safety Thomas DeCoud on Tuesday afternoon.
Falcons Pro Bowl safety Thomas Decoud to be released by 4 pm EST, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014
This move isn’t a shock, simply because there had been documented reports for weeks, and the team clearly had little interest in moving forward with him as a vital piece. The 28-year-old safety was a 3rd pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, and while he played at a high level at various points in time (92 tackles, 4 INT in 2011), his play slipped noticeably this season.
Former Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud graded at -16.0 overall last season, including -11.3 in coverage. No. 83 safety
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 11, 2014
Pro Football Focus rates DeCoud as the #83 safety in the NFL (yikes), and that leaves him with no place in a starting defensive backfield. With this move, the Falcons are projected to save about $3 million against the salary cap, and with some gaping holes to be addressed in both the draft and free agency, that money can be put to better use somewhere else.
DeCoud was a valuable member of the team over a 5-year stretch, but all good things come to an end, and it was certainly time for this two-way partnership to conclude.