Falcons sign former All-Pro defender Calais Campbell

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After hosting him on a free agent visit, the Falcons are signing Calais Campbell to a one-year deal, per Ian Rapoport.

The Falcons just announced that Eddie Goldman would be returning from retirement, which gives Atlanta a fairly impressive rotation along the defensive front.

Adding a player of Calais Campbell’s caliber now gives the club its best defensive front in decades, providing new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen with more than enough firepower to improve the worst pass rush in football.

According to Rapoport, Campbell chose Atlanta because of the vision Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot sold the veteran defender, so it seems their message isn’t only resonating within the walls of Flowery Branch but also to prospective free agents as well.

Campbell was signed through the 2023 season, but the 36-year-old carried a $9.44 million salary cap hit for the upcoming campaign. By releasing him, Baltimore freed up $7 million in space.

The Ravens acquired Campbell in a trade with the Jaguars during the 2020 offseason, and he has been with the club for the past three seasons. The six-time Pro Bowler has been a reliable piece along Baltimore’s defensive line, including making a Pro Bowl in his first season with the club.

He is also coming off a 2022 season during which he piled up 5.5 sacks in just 14 games played. So, the veteran All-Pro certainly has gas left in the tank but might right prove more valuable as a leader.

Campbell initially entered the league as a second-round pick of the Cardinals in 2008 out of Miami. He spent the first nine years of his career in Arizona, where he blossomed into one of the league’s most feared interior pass rushers.

In 2017, he inked a $60 million deal to join the Jaguars, and Jacksonville was where he put up some of his better statistical seasons, including a 14.5-sack campaign in 2017. Even though he’ll be 37 at the start of next season, Campbell can still be a productive piece for a defense.

Photographer: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire

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