The Falcons released defensive end Ray Edwards on Monday.
It was a surprisingly abrupt departure for a player who was once heralded as a key component of the team’s pass rush when the Falcons signed Edwards in July 2011. Edwards produced little in the way of sacks (3 1/2) or quarterback pressures in 25 games with the team.
Edwards started all 16 games in 2011 and four of nine games this season. His playing time had decreased, a development coach Mike Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Nolan attributed to extensive use of special personnel packages.
Kroy Biermann has picked up a number of Edwards’ snaps while playing a hybrid position in Nolan’s defense.
The Vikings selected Edwards in fourth round of the 2006 draft out of Purdue. He signed a five-year contract with Atlanta that included $11 million in guarantees.