Falcons declining fifth-year option on TE Hayden Hurst

The Atlanta Falcons added a game-breaking tight end in Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 overall pick over the weekend. Incumbent TE Hayden Hurst will become a free agent next offseason.

The Falcons aren’t picking up the fifth-year option on Hurst, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the decision.

ESPN first reported the news.

Atlanta did, however, exercise receiver Calvin Ridley’s fifth-year option. The Falcons selected Ridley with the 26th pick in the 2018 draft. The WR is slated to male $11.116 million in 2022.

The deadline for clubs to pick up fifth-year options on 2018 first-round picks is today, May 3.

The Falcons acquired Hurst in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens last year, sending a second-round pick for the former first-rounder. The Ravens used that pick to select running back J.K. Dobbins.

Hurst posted career highs with 56 receptions for 571 yards and six TDs in his first year in Atlanta. However, with Pitts in tow, new GM Terry Fontenot declined to pick up an extra year on Hurst.

The salary cap situation in Atlanta could have played a key role in the decision. While Hurst would have been due $5.428 million on the fifth year, guaranteeing that future contract wasn’t attractive for the Falcons.

Hurst is set to make $1.984 million in 2021. He’ll be a free agent come 2022 if he plays out the final year in Atlanta without an extension. The Falcons could also look to trade the tight end in the coming months after adding Pitts and blocking TE Lee Smith this offseason.

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