Falcons’ $21.5 million signing dubbed Atlanta’s “best-kept secret”

NFL: OCT 02 Browns at Falcons

The Falcons spent pretty much all of their free agent dollars on the offensive side of the ball this offseason, headlined by Kirk Cousins.

The veteran inked a $180 million deal, which was quickly followed by the signing of wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who agreed to a three-year contract to come to Atlanta. The Falcons have been relatively quiet other than those two acquisitions, but last offseason, Terry Fontenot spent the majority of his resources on the defensive side of the ball.

To say those free agent deals worked out would be an understatement. Jessie Bates was the headliner last year, and he earned All-Pro honors in his first season with the Falcons. David Onyemata turned in one of the best seasons of his career, and Kaden Elliss contributed just as much.

The former Saints linebacker agreed to a three-year, $21.5 million deal to join the Falcons. Elliss solidified the second level of the defense at a time when they truly needed it.

Troy Andersen went down with a season-ending injury, and Elliss certainly helped Nate Landman along. His versatility is a defensive coordinator’s dream, but he still probably isn’t a household name, which is why Bleacher Report’s Matt Holder dubbed Elliss the Falcons’ best-kept secret.

“Elliss hasn’t gotten much recognition as he took a few years to catch on in the NFL,” Holder wrote. “That being said, the Falcons linebacker has made 29 starts over the last two seasons and racked up 11 sacks with 200 total tackles during that period, including a triple-digit tackle campaign in 2023.”

In his first season with the Falcons, Elliss posted career highs in combined tackles, solo tackles, tackles for loss, and passes defended. Part of the reason Atlanta was interested in him was his ability to get after the passer.

In his final year in New Orleans, Elliss logged seven sacks and 10 QB hits for the Saints but only put up four sacks in 2023. That was still good for fourth on the Falcons defense, though.

Hopefully, by year’s end, Kaden Elliss is no longer the Falcons’ best-kept secret.

Photographer: John Adams/Icon Sportswire

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