Falcons highest-graded 2023 free agency signing isn’t a surprise

NFL: NOV 26 Saints at Falcons

The Falcons come into the offseason with plenty of cap space to spend on free agents. The club has some holes to fill, but it was nothing compared to last year.

They came into last offseason with more cap space than just about any team in the league, and Terry Fontenot spent it. Atlanta’s GM brought in a haul of free agents, mostly on the defensive side of the ball. It was necessary.

There were a ton of holes that needed to be filled, and Fontenot added difference-makers at all three levels. On the defensive line, the Falcons brought in David Onyemata on a three-year deal as well as Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree on one-year pacts. On the second level, Fontenot dipped back into the New Orleans pool, inking Kaden Elliss to a three-year contract.

All four were instrumental to Atlanta’s defensive turnaround last year, but none were as impactful as the gem of the Falcons free agent class — Jessie Bates. The former Bengals star signed the largest deal of last year’s free agents, a $64 million contract, and he delivered.

Bates set career marks across the board with three forced fumbles, six interceptions, and 128 tackles. He was solely responsible for a couple of Atlanta‚Äôs wins against the Saints and Panthers. So, it’s no surprise that he was Atlanta’s highest-graded 2023 free agency signing, according to PFF.

Atlanta Falcons: S Jessie Bates III (90.6)

The Falcons spent just over $64 million to bring in the All-Pro safety, which Bates rewarded by finishing as the highest-graded player from the 2023 free-agent class. The Falcons safety secured the sixth-highest coverage grade in the league, highlighted by six interceptions and five forced incompletions, the former ranking third among all defenders.

It was one of the best free agent signings of the entire offseason. Outside of Baker Mayfield, you really could argue it was the most impactful. The Falcons have to be overjoyed with their return on investment.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: