Ex-Falcons Pro Bowler Deion Jones signs with division rival

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The Falcons will see a familiar face in the division this season as Adam Schefter reports the Panthers and Deion Jones have reached a deal.

The former second-round pick out of LSU joined the Dirty Birds in 2016 and was an integral piece of that Super Bowl team. During his first two campaigns, many considered him among the best linebackers in football, even ending his first season among the top vote-getters for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

He led the entire league in interceptions returned for touchdowns and interception return yards while amassing 108 combined tackles in 2016, then followed it up with a Pro Bowl bid in 2017, in which he recorded 138 tackles, 10 for a loss, and a sack.

Eventually, the Falcons handed Jones a massive contract extension that he would unfortunately never live up to. After spending the first six years in Atlanta, Debo was traded to Cleveland for a sixth-round pick during the middle of the 2022 season. He did appear in a handful of games, starting five and amassing 44 tackles, 2.5 sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble.

I doubt Jones signed with Carolina to be a depth piece. He is likely in line to compete for a starting role at inside linebacker next to Shaw Thompson. Falcons fans won’t have to wait long to see Debo either as the Panthers travel to Atlanta for the 2023 season opener in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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