The 8-1 Atlanta Falcons said they will evaluate their team every week, regardless of their record.
If players believed those were hollow words, the release of Ray Edwards on Monday sent a clear message.
"It's scary," Falcons rookie offensive lineman Peter Konz said, managing a weak smile, according to The Associated Press. "It makes you think. But if you do the right things, get the job done on the field, you don't have to be too worried about it."
Edwards signed a five-year, $30 million contract ($11 million guaranteed) with the Falcons in July 2011 to compliment defensive end John Abraham in the pass rush. Edwards did little in his 25 games with Atlanta, posting just 3.5 sacks last year and zero in nine games to start this season.
The big name bombed out big time. Falcons coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff weren't afraid to eat the sunk cost and move on with players who were more productive. Any player can be replaced at any time.
The Falcons' locker room got the notice.
"It's a wakeup call," safety Thomas DeCoud said. "The message has been received."
Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.