Free agent signing Germain Ifedi impressing Falcons staff during OTAs

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The Falcons signed former Bears offensive lineman Germain Ifedi to a one-year deal about a month ago. Terry Fontenot hired Ryan Pace, the former Bears general manager, to the front office earlier this offseason, and it looks like Pace has Fontenot’s ear because the Falcons signed two free agents that played for the Bears last season right after the hire — Teez Tabor and Elijah Wilkerson. Then turned around and signed running back Damien Williams, who also spent 2021 in Chicago. But that’s not all. They signed another Bears free agent in wide receiver Damiere Byrd.

This makes Ifedi the fifth former Bears player to be signed. A former first-round pick by Seattle in 2016, he started every game in his four seasons with the Seahawks. After Seattle declined his fifth-year option, Ifedi signed a one-year deal with the Bears. He is a versatile lineman with experience at guard and tackle, starting 23 of his 25 games during his time with the Bears.

Ifedi was demoted last year to a special teams role, but the Falcons could really use the experience along their offensive front. He could push Jalen Mayfield and Kaleb McGary, but is most likely a depth piece. However, he might actually challenge the aforementioned linemen for starting reps. Ifedi is already impressing the coaching staff. Arthur Smith said on Thursday that he’s happy with what he’s given the team, among other players and position groups.

The team clearly sees McGary as expendable after they declined to pick up his fifth-year option. I’m not quite sure Ifedi is a starting-caliber tackle or guard in this league, but he’s squarely in the mix at right tackle and left guard. It’s unclear where the Falcons will use him, but there’s no question he should be able to challenge Mayfield and McGary.

Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

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