Falcons Cut Ray Edwards, Where Could Free Agent DE End Up Next?
Ray Edwards' role within the Atlanta Falcons defense had been dwindling this season and now he has been cut by the team, per Jay Glazer:
Falcons are making a surprise move and releasing DE Ray Edwards, a big free agent pickup couple of years ago
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) November 13, 2012
At 27 years old, Edwards is still plenty young enough to make a long-term impact for a prospective franchise, even if Atlanta only deemed him worthy of playing 36.7 percent of defensive snaps this season.
The fact of the matter is that he is best served as a top-notch run defender and was not working out with the current direction of Atlanta's defense. So, where could he end up next?
Let's examine three options that make the most sense:
New Orleans Saints
Maybe Edwards has become comfortable in the NFC South. If so, there are two options that make sense for Edwards.
The first of which is the New Orleans Saints. At first glance this may not seem to be the right place for Edwards' services.
The Saints' defensive ends, Will Smith and Cameron Jordan, have accounted for 10 sacks this season.
However, five of those sacks came against the sorry excuse for an offensive line that the Philadelphia Eagles are currently sporting.
New Orleans has just 11 total sacks this season and could use another playmaker on their defensive line rotation.
Edwards is a supreme run stopper and could help the teams 31st ranked rush defense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Da'Quan Bowers has just returned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the PUP list and perhaps he can help the Buccaneers anemic pass rush.
Still, Bowers is injury prone and Tampa Bay should be pursuing any and all options for improving their pass rush and taking some pressure off the secondary.
Increasing pressure on opposing quarterbacks would be a great benefit to a struggling secondary. Edwards could help with that. Michael Bennett and his six sacks coupled with Edwards could make for a great pairing.
Ray Edwards flourished with the Minnesota Vikings because he slipped under the radar as offensive lines fixated on Jared Allen.
Without a superstar rusher opposite him, Edwards has struggled in Atlanta. What better way to reinvigorate his play then to line him up next to Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller.
Edwards has plenty of talent but has made it clear he needs support in order to shine. Throw in the fact that the Broncos are in prime position for a division title and you have an intriguing landing spot for Edwards.