The Atlanta Falcons are not exercising the fifth-year option on tight end Hayden Hurst, per source. He’ll be a free agent in 2022.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 3, 2021
The Falcons traded with the Baltimore Ravens for Hurst last offseason. In his first season with Atlanta, Hurst posted a career-high 56 catches for 571 yards and six touchdowns and 88 targets.
Hurst, 27, is set to get $1.349 million fully guaranteed and cost the Falcons a cap hit of $1,984,914. If the Falcons picked up his fifth-year option, then they would have paid Hurst $5.428 million in 2022.
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Falcons Draft Hurst’s Replacement
Atlanta not picking up Hurst’s option does not come by any surprise as the Falcons drafted Florida tight end, Kyle Pitts, at No. 4 overall in this year’s NFL draft.
The Falcons’ tight end depth chart currently looks like Kyle Pitts as the No. 1 option, Hayden Hurst at No. 2, and Lee Smith at No. 3.
The 6-foot-6 and 245 pound TE is set to be a matchup nightmare in the NFL and make an immediate impact on the Falcons’ offense.
Pitts will also add versatility, acting as a tight end or a wide receiver which is why he is considered to be the draft’s “unicorn.” It also helps that Smith is a fan of running an offense with two tight ends, so between him and Hayden Hurst, Ryan will have a dream team to work with.
“He’s kind of like a unicorn, and the only way you can defend a unicorn is with another unicorn,” Gators head coach Dan Mullen said about his former tight end. “So if you don’t have a unicorn on defense, you got a problem.”
Pitts will also be joining Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and new backfield addition, Mike Davis.
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The Falcons Will Exercise Calvin Ridley’s Fifth-Year Option
The Falcons announced Monday that they will exercise wide receiver Calvin Ridley’s fifth-year option worth $11.1 million guaranteed.
Ridley began to break out during his 2019 season but was hurt towards the end of the year. He finished that season reeling in 63 catches for 866 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games with 10 starts.
He was determined to reach 1,000 yards in 2019 but he didn’t so, he made it a goal to do so the following season. Ridley did reach his first 1000-yard season, in fact, he went above and beyond his goal while playing in all but one game and posting 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns.
Over three seasons in the NFL, Ridley has tallied 217 receptions for 3,061 yards, and 26 touchdowns. He also managed to prove the Falcons passing game can still be a solid one even without Julio Jones as Matt Ryan’s No. 1 option which is why the decision to pick up Ridley’s fifth-year option makes a lot of sense.
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