Atlanta Falcons: Releasing John Parker Wilson a Matter of Roster Eligibility

Knox Bardeen@knoxbardeenNFC South Lead WriterAugust 28, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 02:  John Parker Wilson #4 of the Atlanta Falcons attempts a pass while pressured by Jacob Cutrera #58 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during a preseason game at EverBank Field on September 2, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

In an effort to get to the NFL mandated 75-man roster limit, the Atlanta Falcons announced Sunday they had waived backup quarterback and fan favorite John Parker Wilson. The move was only partially because he was the fourth-best quarterback in training camp.

Atlanta typically carries two quarterbacks on its active roster while stashing a third on the practice squad. Matt Ryan’s role on the team was definitely set in stone, leaving Wilson to battle with long-time backup Chris Redman and undrafted rookie free agent Dominique Davis for a roster spot.

Davis had the most attempts through three preseason games with 32 and the second-best completion percentage (59 percent) of the trio. He also threw for two touchdowns and was the only backup quarterback to connect on a score in the preseason.

Redman threw for the most yards with 150 during Atlanta’s preseason games.

Wilson did not even play in Atlanta’s third preseason game and had the fewest attempts (16)  of the group, even though his completion percent (63 percent) was the highest.

But Atlanta’s decision to part ways with Wilson was only partially numbers-driven.

The general consensus entering camp was that Redman would serve as the backup to Ryan, and land on the active roster each week. Wilson and Davis would battle for the third spot on the depth chart and be stashed on the practice squad.

The problem for Wilson is that he’s been stashed on the practice squad for the better part of his three seasons with the Falcons and had no more practice-squad eligibility.

The only way Wilson was going to make the Falcons roster was to earn a spot on the active roster. Since he was waived Sunday—almost a full 24 hours before the NFL deadline—Wilson did not do enough to earn a roster spot.

Wilson was signed as a college free agent in 2009 from the University of Alabama but never saw NFL game action during his three-year career. His only time on the active roster came during the final five weeks of the 2011 season when the Minnesota Vikings cut Donovan McNabb and attempted to sign Wilson.

Atlanta moved Wilson to its active roster to protect him from being signed by Minnesota, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

To get from 90 players to 75, Atlanta made the following transactions:

  • Waived tight end Chase Coffman
  • Waived linebacker Max Gruder
  • Waived kicker Erik Folk
  • Waived running back Richard Medlin
  • Waived fullback Lee Meisner
  • Waived defensive end Louis Nzegwu
  • Waived wide receiver Kenny Stafford
  • Waived tight end Aron White
  • Waived quarterback John Parker Wilson
  • Placed offensive lineman Will Svitek on injured reserve
  • Reached an injury settlement with defensive tackle Elisha Joseph
  • Reached an injury settlement with cornerback Darrin Walls
  • Place defensive tackle Corey Peters on the reserve/non-football injury list