Falcons news: Atlanta releases veteran kicker Matt Bryant
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Falcons release veteran kicker Matt Bryant

Matt Bryant, Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are moving on from their longest-tenured player. Veteran kicker Matt Bryant wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning that he was informed last night of the team’s decision to release him when free agency begins in March.

Bryant signed with the Falcons all the way back in 2009, replacing veteran Jason Elam midway through the season. His ensuing decade of service is made all the more impressive by the fact that Bryant wasn’t even in the NFL when he first caught on with Atlanta. Despite finishing top-five in points scored with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008, he was released after the season, forced to sign with the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League after receiving scant interest on the free-agent market.

The 43-year-old signed a three-year extension with the Falcons in March of last year. He connected on 20 of his 21 field goal attempts last season, good for a career-high and third-ranked league-wide conversion rate of 95.2 percent. Bryant went a respectable 33-of-35 on extra points in 2018, too, and tied the second-longest field goal of his career by booting a 57-yarder. Age be damned, his release was not related to on-field performance.

Instead, Atlanta made this move to free up cap space necessary to make more worthwhile improvements to the roster. General manager Thomas Dimitroff will save his team $11 million by releasing Bryant and cornerback Robert Alford, at least some of which is likely to be used on an extension for star defensive tackle Grady Jarrett.

Bryant, it bears repeating, said in his twitter post that he has every intention on returning for his 18th NFL go-around come next season.