The Atlanta Falcons announced Tuesday that they have activated defensive end Steven Means from the reserve/COVID-19 list and released linebacker Deone Bucannon.
Means, 29, played in eight games for the Falcons in 2018, but he missed the entire 2019 season after suffering an Achilles injury during organized team activities in the offseason. He is expected to provide depth at defensive end for Atlanta in 2020 and be part of a rotation that the Falcons hope will have more success pressuring opposing quarterbacks.
Bucannon, 28, joined the Falcons as a free agent this offseason after spending the 2019 season with both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants. He spent all of training camp with Atlanta and was included on the team's original 53-man roster as one of five linebackers. The former first-round pick enjoyed the best season of his career in 2015 as a member of the Arizona Cardinals when he recorded 112 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception.
What it means
The Falcons now have four linebackers and 11 defensive ends on their 53-man roster. On the Falcons' initial depth chart for the season, they listed three starting safeties, and that group figures to blend with the linebackers on the defense to create a very versatile set of players behind the defensive line. Atlanta's defensive line also consists of a versatile collection of players who can play both inside and outside as the Falcons shift their fronts to better counter opposing personnel groups.