The Atlanta Falcons are parting ways with running back Jerious Norwood.
The former third-round pick’s agent Bus Cook told the AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter that Atlanta’s football team instructed the sometimes-electric, but often injured kick returner and running back that they would not make a run at Norwood, who is an unrestricted free agent this season.
The move was widely expected after the Dirty Birds nabbed Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers with a fifth round selection in the draft. Rodgers was officially signed on Thursday.
Norwood played in just 57 of 80 games in his Falcons career. He was particularly snake-bitten by injuries over the last two seasons. He laced up in just 10 games in 2009 due to concussion and hip flexor injuries and missed all but a pair of games of last year after tearing his right ACL.
The fate of Norwood is not the only personnel decision facing Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff. Atlanta parted ways with WR Brian Finneran and CB Brian Williams before the lockout.
Brent Grimes and Eric Weems should eventually get contracts, but the fate of RG Harvey Dahl and LG Justin Blalock remain up in the air.
Rusher Jason Snelling could be headed to the St. Louis Rams, while punter Michael Koenen will probably not return to the club. The team will likely hand over the punting duties sixth round pick P/K Matt Bosher. The former Miami Hurricane signed a contract with the club on Thursday.
Also agreeing deals on the eve of the team’s first official practice include: RG Tyson Clabo, LB Mike Peterson and K Matt Bryant. The Falcons also came to terms with first round pick Julio Jones, third round pick Akeem Dent and seventh round picks Andrew Jackson and Cliff Matthews. They also came to terms with former USC K Jacob Harfman.
The Falcons entered the free agent period $18 million below the 2011 NFL salary cap of $120.375 million. They have committed a little over $12 million to Clabo (5 years, $25 million), Jones (4 years, $16.2 million) and Stephen Nicholas (5 years, $17.5 million), who reached a deal with the team on Wednesday.
Falcons pursuing Edwards? One place where most Falcons fans think the team needs an upgrade is defense. With potential DE target Jason Babin reportedly off the free-agent list and headed to the archrival Philadelphia Eagles, the Dirty Birds are reportedly are in the hunt for Ray Edwards’ services. The Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans are also reportedly in the running for the Minnesota Vikings defensive end.
Of course, after Atlanta’s most recent signings, it is unlikely that Atlanta will be able to afford Edwards contract without releasing a player or renegotiating other contracts in order to stay under the cap.
Babin reportedly agreed to a five-year $28 million contract with the Eagles on Thursday.
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