Had Hankerson cleared waivers, the expectation was that the Patriots would re-sign him this week.
Hankerson, 26, signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Falcons back in March. He’ll make a base salary of $745,000 this season and test the open market for the second straight offseason.
The Falcons placed him on injured reserve a few weeks ago to make room for WR/KR Devin Hester, who was activated from short-term injured reserve. However, he was released a settlement a few weeks ago before he was claimed off of waivers by Patriots.
New England cut him loose on Saturday.
His 2015 season ends with him appearing in eight games and recorded 26 receptions for 327 yards receiving and three touchdowns for the Falcons.