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All Vets Are Off: Who Will Return In 2014?

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RB Steven Jackson has battled injury all season long, leading to an ineffective campaign in Atlanta. With the ability to save $1.8 million by cutting him this offseason, Jackson may not be back for a second hoorah. Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images.
RB Steven Jackson has battled injury all season long, leading to an ineffective campaign in Atlanta. With the ability to save $1.8 million by cutting him this offseason, Jackson may not be back for a second hoorah. Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images.

The Atlanta Falcons are now 3-9 on the season. Clearly, this team is looking toward the NFL offseason and the NFL Draft in order to bounce back to respectability. With that being said, it can be assumed that there are several Falcons veterans who will be on the chopping block moving forward. Here are a few that will not be part of the team in 2014.    

As Good As Gone

Asante Samuel, CB – Samuel is 32 years old and hits Atlanta's salary cap for $6 million next season. With the emergence of rookie corners Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, along with nickel CB Robert McClain, there is not enough room for a $6 million player who sees the field sparingly. This is not prognostication - it's just math.  

On team: $6 million  

Off team: $750,000

Savings: $5.25 million    

Maybe Here, Maybe Not

Steven Jackson, RB – Jackson has been injured more often than not during his first season in Atlanta and has been largely ineffective. Jackson has logged over 10,000 yards rushing in the league and is 30 years old. Keeping that in mind, he is not going to be a starter here when this team is ready to compete again. Jackson's price tag for 2014 is simply too high given his production. However, this organization has a history of supporting its bad signings and draft picks.  

On team: $4.1 million

Off team: $2.3 million

Savings: $1.8 million    

Jason Snelling, RB – Snelling will be 30 next season but does not have the normal wear-and-tear of a typical 30-year-old NFL running back. His versatility is an asset as he can also line up at fullback when needed. Snelling will account for about $1.7 million of cap space in 2014.  

On team: $1.7 million

Off team: $350,000

Savings: $1.35 million    

No Matter How Much You Want Him Gone, He’s Here

Sam Baker, LT – Baker is done for the season with a knee injury that just would not get well. After signing a big contract during the 2013 offseason, the Falcons have very few options other than hoping for a return to health. Baker could possibly move to right tackle if their first round draft pick is used on a left tackle, but it is no sure thing that he will excel at a position he was not drafted to play in the league. At this point, it is more expensive to have Baker off the team than on it.  

On team: $6.1 million

Off team: $15.2 million

Deficit: $9.1 million