The Falcons announced Wednesday afternoon that they decided not to pick up the 2019 option on kicker Matt Bryant.
Bryant, who was with the team for 10 seasons, announced earlier in the day that he would be cut Wednesday.
“I was informed last night that the team was moving on from my services and that I would be released,” Bryant wrote on Twitter. “I want to say thank you to all (of) the fans that have stood with me and my family during our time here.”
Bryant, who will turn 44 in May, said he doesn’t plan to retire.
“Matt Bryant will be remembered as one of the greatest Falcons of all time,” owner Arthur Blank said in a statement released by the team. “He is the leading scorer in the history of the team with 1,122 points and made countless memorable and game-winning kicks. His reliability and dependability were unmatched, and he has been unflappable in pressure-filled moments.
“Matt has represented our organization and city so well on and off the field by living our core values through hundreds of hours of community service. He was rightfully recognized as our Walter Payton Man of the Year in both 2013 and 2014. We are deeply grateful for his contributions to the Atlanta Falcons and wish Matt, his wife, Melissa, and their children all the best in the future.”
The Falcons can get cheaper at the position by keeping Giorgio Tavecchio, the injury replacement for Bryant last season who kicked field goals of 50 and 56 yards in the team’s 23-20 victory over the Giants.
“Matt Bryant is a true competitor and one of the most dependable players I have ever worked with,” coach Dan Quinn said. “He proved that time and time again through his focused approach and demeanor. Moves like this are always difficult because we know how much he meant to this brotherhood and this city. We thank him for his contributions to the team.”
The move creates $2.8 million in cap space for the Falcons.
Bryant signed a three-year contract worth $10.5 million March 5. He was set to make $2.45 million next season.
“I am extremely grateful for everything that Matt Bryant has done for this organization over the last 10 years,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “There is no doubt he is one of the all-time great Falcons as he’s been an integral part of our success. This was a difficult decision but one that was necessary for us to move forward into 2019. We have the utmost respect for the person and the player that Matt is, and we wish he and his family the best going forward.”
The most memorable field goal in Bryant’s tenure with the Falcons might be the 49-yarder that gave the Falcons a 30-28 victory over Seattle in the divisional round of the 2012 playoffs. It was the Falcons’ first playoff win since 2004.
Bryant’s 1,717 career points rank fifth among the NFL’s all-time active points leaders.
Bryant also made 388 field goals over his career, which ranks fourth among the active field-goal leaders.
He also scored more than 100 points in a single season 10 times during his career – only 17 other players have accomplished this feat 10 or more times.