The Falcons announced Monday they will not pursue contract negotiations with the defensive end. Beasley is set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 18 when the new league year starts.
“As we continue to craft our 2020 roster, we’d like to thank Vic for five years of effort on behalf of our organization,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said, per the Falcons’ official site.
The decision shouldn’t come as a surprise, though as the team is looking to upgrade its defense ahead of the 2020 campaign. Plus, the former 2015 first-round pick played the 2019 campaign on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal.
In addition to Beasley, Atlanta will need to make decisions on Adrian Clayborn and Jack Crawford, who are also set to become free agents this offseason.
The Falcons finished 31st in the league in sacks, despite Beasley’s eight on the year and the defense’s late-season resurgence.
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Beasley, who was coach Dan Quinn’s first draft pick in 2015, eighth overall, did not show consistency despite leading the NFL with 15.5 sacks in 2016 — the season the Falcons went to the Super Bowl.
Beasley made the Pro Bowl that year but managed just five sacks in each of the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Although Beasley had eight sacks this past season, 6.5 of those came in the second half of the season.
The Falcons dangled Beasley for a trade before last season’s trade deadline with no takers. Beasley told ESPN the trade talk did not serve as motivation to play better in the second half of 2019.
Now that the Falcons have decided to move on, acquiring a pass-rusher via the draft or free agency becomes even more of a priority this offseason. The Falcons hope to get more production out of another former first-rounder, defensive end Takk McKinley, who is recovering from shoulder surgery.
The Falcons need more pressure off the edges, particular with the Pro Bowler Jarrett creating havoc on the interior of the defensive line.
Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos and Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa are just a few of the draft prospects the Falcons might consider to help improve the rush. The Falcons have a new defensive coordinator for 2020 in Raheem Morris.
Beasley finished his time with the Falcons recording 37.5 sacks, 156 tackles and 11 forced fumbles.
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