The Falcons will add defensive end Bruce Irvin days after he was released by the Raiders, the team announced Wednesday morning. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora identified the Falcons — along with the Patriots and Seahawks — as a likely landing spot. In fact, Irvin told ESPN.com‘s Vaughn McClure that the Patriots and Steelers offered more money but he wanted to return to his hometown.
And now Irvin, originally Seattle’s 2012 first-round pick, is headed to Atlanta to join pass rushers and former first-rounders Takk McKinley (who leads the team with six sacks) and Vic Beasley (one sack).
The Falcons have won three straight games though their defense, ravaged by injuries, remains a liability; the unit ranks 30th, according to Football Outsiders, ahead of only the Raiders and Buccaneers. The pass rush hasn’t been much better; ranking 26th and just 17 sacks.
The Raiders, meanwhile, parted ways with Irvin because he didn’t fit their defensive scheme and was their highest paid player on that side of the ball. In fact, he played just nine snaps in Oakland’s blowout loss to the 49ers, led by former undrafted free agent Nick Mullens. After the game, first-year coach Jon Gruden explained his decision to keep Irvin on the sidelines for most of the game.
“We’re a 4-3 team now, so in the base defense sometimes he doesn’t fit the role we need done,” he said. “He’s an edge rusher, and we haven’t had the lead a lot. … His role has been reduced. I know he’s frustrated. I’m frustrated. … He’s a good player.”
But not good enough to remain on a 1-7 team that is playing for draft position and not much else.
In eight games, Irvin had six tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble. For some perspective, the Raiders have seven total sacks on the season and the man responsible for 43 percent of those sacks has been jettisoned. This development comes after Gruden spent the first few weeks of the season lamenting the lack of a pass rush after shipping Khalil Mack off to Chicago.