Aaron Rodgers wanted Calais Campbell on the Jets, but he explains why he chose the Falcons

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The Falcons added a litany of talent to the defensive side of the ball this offseason, but perhaps the most shocking addition was former All-Pro defensive lineman Calais Campbell. Not because of the need — the Falcons certainly have use for a pass rusher of his caliber, given how porous their defensive line has been in recent years — but because Campbell is at the end of a Hall-of-Fame career, the time when most veterans desire to ring chase.

The Falcons should be a much-improved team all around in 2023, but to say they are Super Bowl contenders is far-fetched. Still, that didn’t stop Campbell from inking a one-year deal with the team, despite other more desirable franchises hoping to sign him.

One of the teams linked to Campbell during free agency was the Jets, who already feature an elite defense and are expected to trade for Aaron Rodgers. If Campbell was hoping to end his outstanding career with a ring, it certainly looks like the better situation. However, even after Aaron Rodgers texted Campbell about joining him in New York, the former Baltimore Raven chose Atlanta.

It’s far too early in the Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith era to make any conclusive judgments on the regime. They’ve done some good things, and they’ve made some questionable decisions, but this was always going to be a lengthy rebuild.

With that being said, what is undeniable is the improvement in the culture within the organization. That’s been a focal point for this new regime, and the Calais Campbell acquisition is a sign that the narrative around the Falcons is changing — at least from a player’s perspective.

At 37 years old, Campbell is no longer a player that is going to wreck opposing offenses on his own. He’ll be a rotational defensive lineman in Atlanta, but his presence will have a lasting impact. Not only will he be able to mentor the youth in the building, but his actions also carry some weight. Players around the league will take notice that this isn’t the same Falcons organization that was run by Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn, and that will have a lasting effect on free agent cycles for years to come.

Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

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