Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

5 reasons why the Chiefs let Dontari Poe become a free agent

FLOWERY BRANCH – Back in my days in law school at the University of Cincinnati along with renowned announcer Cris Collinsworth  -- we took Tax and Corporations together -- I learned a lot of new and fancy words.

Seldom do I get to use my pretty words in the sports vernacular , but today I do.

Two of those fancy words were the concept of “caveat emptor.”

In the Uniformed Commercial Code class taught by the colorful Professor Alphonse Squillante , we learned that "caveat emptor" is Latin for “let the buyer beware.”

The Falcons are buyer in this case. The buyer of the services of one Dontari Poe, football player and defensive tackle. They've contracted with him for the consideration of $8 million dollars plus incentives. In return for that consideration, the Falcons are hopeful that Poe can return to his two-time Pro Bowl level of play.

However, the Falcons must "beware" of his status in the league at this point. Normally, NFL teams do not let their good talent reach unrestricted free agency.

The Chiefs drafted Poe with the 11th pick overall out of Memphis in the 2012 draft by then general manager Scott Pioli, who’s currently the assistant general manager with the Falcons.

Here are five reasons why he was not re-signed in Kansas City:

1. Money was a factor. Instead of paying Poe $13.5 million for 2017 per the franchise tag, the Chiefs let him test free agency. He basically had to take a 40 percent pay cut from the Falcons. The Chiefs needed his cash to re-sign safety Eric Berry. They replaced Poe with defensive tackle Bennie Logan, who signed a similar one-year, $8 million deal. They wanted Poe back, but not at $13 million.

2. Back was an issue. Poe had surgery for a herniated disk in July of 2015. There was the thought that his back could be a long-term problem for the agile 6-foot-3, 346-pounder.

3. Dip in play. Since the surgery, his play dipped. He had 39 tackles in 2015 while starting 13 of 15 games and last season he had a career-low 27 tackles while starting all 16 games in a contract year. Poe played 885 snaps last season, 16th most among all NFL defensive linemen.

4. Can Poe continue to play on third downs? The Falcons may think that 885 snaps is just a bit too much for Poe and can put some speedy rushers on the field in their nickel package on third downs. Less snaps might mean more production for Poe.

5. Did the Falcons overpay for Poe? He visited defensive starved Jacksonville and Indianapolis. He also visited the Dolphins. Miami only wanted to pay Poe $4 million, according to our pal Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald. If the Falcons don't benefit from their bargain, then Poe will be a free agent again next season.

Now, all we need is the University of Cincinnati Bearcats to handle Kansas State today and keep my NCAA tournament bracket clean after going 15-1 on the opening day.







Reader Comments ...

About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.