The Falcons are expected to release veteran safety Thomas DeCoud by the fourth day of the 2014 league year, reports Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). A portion of DeCoud’s salary becomes guaranteed if he remains on the team’s roster beyond March 14, but it’s possible he’ll be released even before then, as Atlanta looks to get its cap in order by March 11.
DeCoud, 28, earned a spot in the Pro Bowl a year ago due in large part to his six interceptions during the 2012 season. However, he didn’t grade well according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics that season, and was even worse in 2013, ranking 83rd out of 86 qualified safeties (subscription required). The longtime Falcons starter has three years remaining on his contract, but the club could create $3MM in 2014 cap savings by releasing him within the next couple weeks. Cutting him would reduce his cap number rom $4.8MM to just $1.8MM in dead money.
If and when the move becomes official, DeCoud will join a group of free agent safeties that currently includes T.J. Ward, Jairus Byrd, Donte Whitner, Chris Clemons, and James Ihedigbo, among others. The free agent market should provide plenty of options for teams looking to address their secondary prior to the draft.