With a new regime in place and the Atlanta Falcons looking ahead to the 2021 season, here are three players that won’t be back in the new year.
Following another disappointing season for the Atlanta Falcons ending with a below .500 record for the third straight year, changes are beginning to take place for the organization with the offseason now in full swing.
From a winless 0-5 record to begin the regular season, to firing both its general manager and head coach early on in the year, Atlanta ended up taking another step back in 2020 while failing to reach the playoffs for a third consecutive season.
The Falcons did have somewhat of a bright spot during the middle portion of the year, including winning four of six games following that winless start through five weeks, but they ended up rounding out the year with a rough record of 4-12 overall.
With that record, Atlanta finished fourth in the NFC South standings behind the New Orleans Saints (12-4), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) and Carolina Panthers (5-11) ahead of it in the division. The Falcons also managed to finish with records of 2-6 both at home and on the road during the 2020 campaign.
At the end of the season, although there was a large amount of disappointment surrounding what took place in the year that was, there is some excitement among the organization now with the offseason underway and the focus shifting to 2021.
In the early days and weeks of the offseason while other teams continued their seasons in the NFL Playoffs, Atlanta went out and hired a new head coach to take the sidelines with the hire of former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, later announcing the addition of former New Orleans Saints front office man Terry Fontenot as the organization’s new general manager.
With a new regime in place and the focus shifting to the 2021 season, there is a decent amount of work to do this offseason in shoring up holes on the Falcons depth chart while also starting to figure out where the team will go in the future beyond the 2021 year.
As the offseason begins for Atlanta and other teams in the NFL, let’s take a look at three players that won’t be back on the field wearing a Falcons uniform when the new year kicks off.
3. Matt Schaub
Matt Schaub hasn’t played that important of a role on the offensive end for the Falcons and likely wouldn’t play too large of a role during the 2021 season if he was going to return to the team, but the backup quarterback has provided Atlanta with a safety blanket behind starting quarterback Matt Ryan on the depth chart.
Now, without Schaub, that puts the future of the quarterback position in question and further proves that the Falcons need to figure out what life after Ryan will look like at that area of the team moving forward.
The reason that the 39-year-old Schaub won’t be returning to the team in 2021 is because he announced his retirement from the NFL following the conclusion of the 2020 campaign, ending his time in the league after 16 seasons.
Throughout his career, Schaub has spent time with the Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens and the Falcons, playing in Atlanta for a total of seven seasons (2004-06 and 2016-20). In seven years with the Falcons, Schaub appeared in a total of 52 games, including one game during the 2020 season.
Schaub finished with 1,649 yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions as a member of the Falcons. In his career, he tallied 25,467 passing yards, 136 touchdowns and 91 interceptions in 155 games.
Now with Schaub retired and out of the picture moving forward, Atlanta will have to focus on what it will do at the backup position moving forward and if that player should be a high draft pick to develop behind Ryan on the depth chart to be the quarterback in waiting once Ryan eventually moves on.