Terry Fontenot addresses Falcons’ decision to release Fowler, Gono

Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith discuss the team's offseason plans at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith discuss the team's offseason plans at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

INDIANAPOLIS — The Falcons didn’t comment when they released outside linebacker Dante Fowler and guard Matt Gono recently.

The release of Fowler, who led the team in sacks last season with 4.5, left the Falcons with $4.6 million in dead salary-cap space. It’s reasonable to infer that he wore out his welcome, and he had low production.

Gono, who missed last season with an injury, was expected to contend for a starting position last season. Given the meager production of the offensive line, Gono’s release was more of a surprise.

“Just like anything else, we went through the process as we got out of the season,” general manager Terry Fontenot said. “It was nothing against those two players, but we just felt it was best to make those moves at that point.”

Fowler could land with the Cowboys, where former Falcons coach Dan Quinn is the defensive coordinator.

The Cowboys have decisions to make on three defensive ends: Randy Gregory, Dorance Armstrong and DeMarcus Lawrence, who has a $20 million cap hit, but hasn’t had a double-digit sack season since 2018.

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