This is now the Atlanta Bears, brought to you by Ryan Pace. The Falcons are still scouring the free agent market despite the NFL draft being in the rearview mirror. Atlanta’s ability to continue to bolster the roster through free agency comes after a recent contract extension with Grady Jarrett created nearly $11 million in cap space. After visiting Atlanta last week, Nick Kwiatkoski is signing a deal with the Falcons, according to Tom Pelissero.
Veteran LB Nick Kwiatkoski is signing with the #Falcons on a one-year deal, per source. A reunion with former #Bears GM Ryan Pace, who drafted Kwiatkoski in 2016 and is now a senior executive in Atlanta.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 12, 2022
It seems the Falcons are assembling the Bears roster Pace had in Chicago — Cordarelle Patterson, Damiere Byrd, Elijah Wilkinson, Damien Williams, Teez Tabor, and now Kwiatkoski.
After being drafted by the Bears, he spent four seasons in Chicago and produced at a Pro Bowl-caliber in 2017. Following his time up north, Kwiatkoski signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Raiders during the 2020 offseason. However, he finished his Raiders career on the injured reserve and was released earlier this offseason.
He was undoubtedly one of the best players at his position left in free agency, but Atlanta didn’t necessarily have the space for a starting-caliber linebacker. Despite Foye Oluokun signing with the Jaguars in free agency, the Falcons had more than enough bodies at the position — Deion Jones, Rashaan Evans, Mykal Walker, and Troy Andersen.
The signing of Kwiatkoski has to spark skepticism over Debo’s future with the Falcons. Atlanta can save considerable cap space with a post-June 1st trade, which has to be the thought process at this point. Terry Fontenot has cleared the books of all the bad contracts inherited from the former regime, except for Deion Jones. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if the former LSU Tiger is suiting up for another team in 2022. He was objectively bad the past few seasons, and it honestly looked like he didn’t even want to be out there.
Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire
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