The Atlanta Falcons have made their two cuts following Super Bowl 50 by parting ways with linebacker Justin Durant and longtime strong safety William Moore.
The day after Super Bowl 50, the Atlanta Falcons parted ways with two starters from their 2015 defense in outside linebacker Justin Durant and longtime strong safety William Moore. Durant played in 13 games, starting 12 for the Atlanta Falcons in his lone year with the club. Moore had spent seven seasons in Atlanta, starting 72 games and making it to a Pro Bowl in 2012 after being drafted by Atlanta in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
On the Atlanta Falcons cutting both Justin Durant and William Moore, head coach of the Atlanta Falcons Dan Quinn said the following in a press release Monday afternoon, “We want to thank both of these guys for their commitment and work ethic. They battled through injuries to give everything they had to offer for their teammates this season and I will always be appreciative of that.”
It seems clear that the Atlanta Falcons will look to get younger, healthier, and more explosive this offseason, both at linebacker and a safety. Moore’s release isn’t all that surprising as he only average 10 starts a year while playing for the Atlanta Falcons. His backup Kemal Ishmael looked strong at times in extended action in 2015.
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Atlanta was going to likely address the safety position to better amplify its secondary this offseason, either through the 2016 NFL Draft of through free agency. It seems that releasing William Moore was the first step in that process for the Atlanta Falcons defensive backfield.
Cutting Justin Durant, however, is a bit shocking, as he did play well on the outside for the Atlanta Falcons in 2015, when healthy. Atlanta doesn’t have great personnel at linebacker to begin with, so parting ways with a guy that has a great feel for the ball in Durant is a little head-scratching, but understandable given his injury-plagued past.
Losing Durant probably means that Paul Worrilow is likely going to start at middle linebacker again for the Atlanta Falcons and that the defense liked what they saw out of O’Brien Schofield in an expanded role in 2015. Look for the Atlanta Falcons to aggressively pursue the linebacker position both in free agency and in the NFL Draft.
Atlanta will almost certainly go younger and healthier at both outside linebacker and at strong safety this offseason. However, keep in mind that Quinn will want a great scheme fit with any new player the Atlanta Falcons acquire.
The Atlanta Falcons have also named the replacement for director of player personnel following Lionel Vital‘s departure, as the Falcons have hired Joel Collier to the same position Monday. Collier has 20 years of NFL experience with the Kansas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots, and the Miami Dolphins. He has been an assistant coach with the Patriots and Dolphins, as well as working on Scott Pioli’s personnel staff in Kansas City.
With the 2015 NFL season officially over, look for more changes to occur with regards to your Atlanta Falcons between now and the NFL Scouting Combine in a few weeks. Rise Up!