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|The Atlanta Falcons released defensive end Derrick Shelby on Friday and announced plans to release tight end Levine Toilolo.
The moves will save the team a combined $6.75 million in cap space. The cost-cutting moves could help the Falcons reach a new deal with quarterback Matt Ryan Mason Foster Jersey , who can be a free agent after the 2018 season.
Shelby, who signed a four-year, $18 million deal in 2016, with $7.5 million guaranteed, was set to earn $4.5 million in each of the next two seasons.
The Falcons will save $3.25 million in cap space with Shelby's release and $3.5 million with Toilolo's release. The team will still have a $2.5 million charge in dead money for Shelby and $2 million for Toilolo that will count against the cap.
Shelby, who turns 29 on Sunday, had 30 tackles and one sack in 2017. He started 14 games. An Achilles tendon injury limited him to six games in 2016.
He spent his first four seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
The Falcons said Toilolo will be released at the start of the new league year on March 14 with a post-June 1 designation.
Toilolo, a fourth-round pick in 2013, had 74 receptions for 723 yards and seven touchdowns in five seasons. He had 11 catches for 55 yards and two touchdowns in 2017 while sharing time with Austin Hooper and Eric Saubert.
Bob Quinn has spent two years reshaping the Detroit Lions' roster and staff Darrell Green Jersey , bringing in players and coaches he knew from their years together with the New England Patriots.
The Lions have won nine games in each of the past two seasons, which wasn't enough for Jim Caldwell to keep his job. Quinn believes they will be drafting from a position of strength.
"With the way the roster is today, I don't think I'm in a position to reach for any position of so-called need," Quinn insisted. "I'm not eliminating any position."
The Lions would stun everyone if they took a quarterback No. 20 overall Thursday night with many millions invested in Matthew Stafford, or a wide receiver with more than a few options on the team. They could justify bolstering coach Matt Patricia's first team at any other position, especially defensive end and offensive guard.
The Lions were last in the league in rushing and have been among the NFL's worst offensively on the ground in recent years. Even if they made a bold move to trade up and select Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, it may not matter if the offensive line doesn't improve. There seem to be four solid blockers: tackles Taylor Decker and Ricky Wagner, guard T.J. Lang and center Graham Glasgow. The team's fifth option, Wesley Johnson Phillip Gaines Jersey , isn't likely an attractive option; the New York Jets didn't want to re-sign him.
That may all add up to Detroit drafting a guard or center in the first round.
"I have no problem taking an interior offensive lineman," Quinn said.
ON THE EDGE
Detroit desperately needs help at defensive end because Ezekiel Ansah is playing on a franchise tag, possibly in his last year with the team. Quinn plans to make picks based on what the team will need up to 18 months away.
"We kind of look that far, knowing that guys are going to be unrestricted free agents after this year, but also the following year," Quinn said. "There's a really good balance there that we have to talk about and kind of envision our needs not just for today, but in the years ahead."
The other options at defensive end such as Anthony Zettel and Kerry Hyder, who missed all of last season with an Achilles tendon injury, don't generate much excitement.
Quinn may choose a running back in a later round Eddie Yarbrough Jersey , hoping to find a flyer. He did add another former Patriot, LeGarrette Blount, to the position to compete with Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick.
"If we had to go play a football game today, I think we have enough running backs to be competitive," Quinn said.
Patricia is an NFL head coach for the first time entering the draft, but he has a lot of experience with Quinn because they worked together with the Patriots for a dozen years.
"I had heard about Matt from Bob for two years before we had the chance to meet," Lions president Rod Wood said, sitting between Quinn and Patricia at a season ticket holders gathering. "I told him recently, 'I think he undersold him Trent Williams Jersey , and he was selling him.' The relationship is strong, the language they speak, the trust. The ability I think to build the team through kind of one long-term vision of what we're going to be about.
"This is probably the first time I've sat between them since they've been in town. They're together all the time."
HITS, MISSES AND BARGAINS
Detroit appeared to reach for tight end Eric Ebron at No. 10 overall in 2014. This offseason, the team acknowledged the mistake when it cut him. The Lions would have been better off with any of the players taking immediately after Ebron: offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Quinn landed a late-round gem last season, selecting All-Pro punt returner Jamal Agnew in the fifth round.
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