Falcons cut sack-less Ray Edwards
Edwards was a free agent prize of the Falcons during the summer of 2011, when he signed a five-year deal worth $27.5 million ($11 million guaranteed). The big contract came on the heels of two straight seasons with 8+ sacks while playing for the Minnesota Vikings. He had 16.5 sacks over his final 30 games in Minnesota.
The move may come as a shock upon first glance, but it may not be as unexpected when you think about it. Edwards was a disappointment last season, tallying only 3.5 sacks despite starting all 16 games. Edwards said that he never felt 100 percent in 2011 due to offseason knee surgery, but deemed himself fully healthy before the 2012 season. Apparently health wasn't the issue, as Edwards hadn't recorded a sack in nine games this season and only had six tackles to his credit.
Edwards didn't make it past the Falcons' Week 7 bye with a starting role, and the team ultimately decided it wasn't worth paying a player that much money to sit on the bench.
The most likely reason for Edwards' drop in production is that he is no longer playing opposite Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen, who he played with in Minnesota. He became his team's main pass rush threat when he signed with the Falcons, which allowed opposing pass protection to give him much more attention.
At only 28 years of age, Edwards certainly has something to offer an NFL team, but what he can offer is not worth nearly $27.5 million. He's certain to sign with another team, but for a much lower price.
Kroy Biermann is expected to replace Edwards at defensive end for the Falcons, though the team is likely to rotate several players at the position.