Falcons free agent signing among NFL.com’s best one-year contracts

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The Falcons participated in free agency without financial limitations for the first time since the new regime took over in Atlanta, and boy did they spend.

With contract extensions and free agent deals, the club shelled out over $250 million, which included a haul of notable new faces — Jessie Bates, David Onyemeta, and Kaden Elliss. Those three inked their respective contracts on the first day of free agency, which were all of the multi-year variety.

However, what was most impressive was the acquisitions that didn’t follow the money. Bates, Onyemata, and Elliss got lucrative offers, but the Falcons also added one-year deals like Bud Dupree, who had his choice of teams but chose Atlanta. He hopes to have a resurgent campaign in Atlanta in order to earn a longer deal during the next free agency period, but the real bargain of the Falcons free agency class was Calais Campbell.

The future Hall of Fame defender had his choice of free agent destinations, including several Super Bowl contenders, which is the only thing missing from his illustrious career accomplishments.

It speaks to the culture that Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot have built. The Falcons handed out a few one-year deals that should prove valuable. Bud Dupree, Mack Hollins, and Lorenzo Carter to name a few but none will be more impactful than Calais Campbell, who made NFL.com’s list of ten one-year contracts that will pay off.

The fact that the 36-year-old signed with Atlanta instead of a more ballyhooed Super Bowl contender represents budding optimism in Flowery Branch that the Falcons can quickly turn things around. When healthy, Campbell remains a force on the line and should immediately help take attention off Grady Jarrett. He might no longer be spry, but Campbell can still move bodies. On a revamped defense, the veteran will play a vital role in any chance the Falcons have of taking the NFC South.

Generally speaking, the Falcons aren’t represented on these kinds of lists that feature stars like Odell Beckham Jr. and Bobby Wagner, but this is a new era for the Dirty Birds. One that we can expect to net more free agents like Campbell choosing the Falcons over others.

Campbell will bring just as much value on the field as he will off the field, mentoring the youngsters around him for the Falcons. One selling point in Atlanta’s recruiting pitch was the ability to assume a more traditional defensive end role, one that he thrived in with the Jaguars, where his most productive years came, piling up 14.5, 10.5, and 6.5 sacks over those three years.


Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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