Falcons veteran free-agent signings proving their worth in helping rookies’ development

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Terry Fontenot clearly “had a type” this offseason when it came to signing free agents. It might not always be the trend given the Falcons’ salary cap issues, but in his first offseason as general manager, Fontenot signed a majority of veteran free agents to one-year bargain deals — Brandon CopelandErik HarrisBarkevious MingoFabian Moreau, and Mike Davis (the only multi-year deal given out this offseason).

Obviously, Mingo’s departure must be noted. Still, furthermore, Fontenot would go on to sign Josh AndrewsSteven MeansJonathan BullardDuron HarmonCordarrelle Patterson, and A.J. McCarron to one-year deals to round out the bulk of the roster. That is a lot of veterans with extensive experience playing in the NFL. The first-time general manager and Arthur Smith are prioritizing accountability, which, in most cases, veterans know better than younger players.

The reason for Fontenot’s vision was clear and is coming to fruition; this team needs a solid veteran presence given how young the roster is. Richie Grant elaborated on just this after yesterdays’s practice, saying the game is starting to slow down for him thanks to the help from veteran safeties, among other factors. Harris and Harmon are two of the most “pro’s pro” guys in the league; they both offer valuable guidance and experience for Grant and the other safeties on the roster.

Hopefully, there are a few more of these situations with the other young players at more concerning positions, like in the trenches. The defensive line could surely use another couple of running mates next to Grady Jarrett and Dante Fowler. While the offensive line would benefit greatly if one of the rookies would step up and take over the left guard position from Josh Andrews, who we know to be a servicable guard in the run game but a total liability in pass sets. For now, Fontenot has to be satisfied with his signings of Harris and Harmon as they help the Falcons second-round pick along in his NFL journey.

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