FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have cut ties with outside linebacker Vic Beasley, who led the NFL in sacks in the team's run to the Super Bowl but didn't come close to matching that production over the last three seasons.
The decision announced Monday means the 27-year-old Beasley will become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 18.
"As we continue to craft our 2020 roster, we'd like to thank Vic for five years of effort on behalf of our organization," general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement.
Beasley was the No. 8 overall pick out of Clemson in 2015. He blossomed in his second season, leading the league with 15.5 sacks and six forced fumbles as the Falcons made the Super Bowl for only the second time in franchise history.
Atlanta squandered a 28-3 lead in the title game, losing to New England 34-28 in overtime.
Since that season, his production tailed off badly. Beasley was tried at different positions and opponents figured out ways to stop his speed rushes. He struggled to come up with new techniques to get to the quarterback, managing just five sacks in both 2017 and 2018.
This past season, Beasley shifted sides and finally showed some improvement, finishing with eight sacks. But it wasn't enough to fit into the Falcons' plans with the team coming off another disappointing season, going 7-9 to miss the playoffs for the second year in a row.