Falcons Release Seahawks’ Former First-Round Pick

Falcons guard James Carpenter

Getty James Carpenter #77 of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Falcons continue to make roster changes just days before free agency hits on March 17th. On Tuesday, the Falcons announced they released veteran guard James Carpenter.

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 How Much Will Carpenter Save the Falcons?

The Falcons signed Carpenter as a free agent in 2019. Over the past two seasons, he has started 24 games at guard, including 13 games at left guard this past season.

The Georgia native was originally selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the first round at No. 25 overall of the 2011 NFL Draft. He has spent 10 seasons in the league, seeing action in 127 regular-season games with 121 starts. Carpenter has shown to be very versatile on the line at left guard, right guard, and right tackle. In addition, he played in all five postseason games for Seattle, including Super Bowl XLVIII.

Cutting Carpenter will save the Falcons just over $4 million against the cap. With Carpenter on his way out, don’t be surprised if Atlanta looks to the draft for another guard this year. They picked-up Matt Hennessey last season, but Alex Mack is set to be an unrestricted free agent next week, which means he likely will look for a new home elsewhere unless the Falcons can fork up what he is worth.

The Falcons have until the start of free agency to free up nearly $20 million to get back under the cap. Below are the other moves they have made.

 Falcons Released Two Veterans & Backup QB

The Falcons announced last month they released veteran safety Ricardo Allen, defensive end Allen Bailey and waived quarterback Kurt Benkert.

Releasing Bailey and Allen, the Falcons saved $10.75 million in cap space.

Allen spent seasons in Atlanta and started 76 games to rack up 340 tackles, 11 interceptions, and one sack. The Falcons drafted Allen in the fifth round of the 2014 draft and he served as a four-time captain.

Bailey came to Atlanta in 2019 after spending eight seasons in Kansas City with the Chiefs. In his two seasons with the Falcons, the former third-round pick played in 31 games with nine starts and recorded 41 tackles, seven QB hits, and 2.5 sacks.

As for Benkert, he was never given much of a shot to prove himself because he injured his toe following a promising preseason start vs. the Broncos prior to the 2019 season.

 Falcons Decided Not to Franchise Tag Keanu Neal

Falcons’ veteran safety Keanu Neal is not expected to get a franchise tag, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. This gives Neal the option to negotiate and sign with another team if he chooses to.

To put a franchise tag on safety, it costs a team roughly $10.5 million, so the Falcons couldn’t afford to keep him around. Now, they can try to ask him to come back on a lesser deal, but after having quite a comeback season, that might be hard to do.

The Falcons’ former 2016 first-round pick finished the season with 100 tackles (76 solo), nine tackles for a loss, one interception, and one forced fumble.

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