FLOWERY BRANCH — Running back Mike Davis, who was last season’s opening-day starter, outside linebacker James Vaughters and offensive tackle Willie Beavers were released Monday by the Falcons, the team announced.
Also, long snapper Beau Brinkley was placed on injured reserved with an undisclosed injury.
Davis, who played at Stephenson High in DeKalb County and at the University of South Carolina, signed a two-year, $5.5 million deal with the Falcons in March 2021. The Falcons will save $2.5 million under the salary cap with his release.
“I appreciate everything the Falcons did for me,” Davis wrote in a tweet. “I was able to play for my hometown and impact my community. I appreciate the fans and my family.”
Davis rushed for 503 yards on 138 carries and had three touchdowns last season. He also caught 44 of 58 targets out of the backfield for 259 yards and one touchdown. He was helpful with his chip blocks in pass protections at times.
The team ended up shifting Davis’ carries to wide receiver/returner Cordarrelle Patterson, who rushed 153 times for 618 yards (4.0 per carry) and six touchdowns. He also caught 52 of 69 targets for 548 yards and five touchdowns.
Patterson and running back Qadree Ollison were re-signed in free agency by the Falcons, who finished 31st in the league in rushing at 85.4 yards per game. The team picked up Brigham Young running back Tyler Allgeier in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL draft.
Vaughters, who played at Tucker High and Stanford, played in 10 games last season and had a sack at outside linebacker. He played 211 defensive snaps (30%) and 89 special-teams snaps (36%).
The Falcons drafted two outside linebackers in Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie in the second round and Western Kentucky’s DeAngelo Malone in the third round.
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Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution