Justin Bethel signs with Falcons

Atlanta Falcons, NFL Free Agency


Dan Quinn’s Atlanta Falcons added depth to their secondary and upgraded their special teams by adding Pro Bowler Justin Bethel on Saturday.

One team’s loss is obviously another club’s gain when it comes to NFL free agency. Last offseason, Arizona Cardinals’ cornerback and special teams’ standout Justin Bethel not only took a pay cut but saw the final year of his latest contract voided by the team (terms via Spotrac). It enabled the three-time Pro Bowler to enter the free-agent market this year.

On Saturday, Bethel joined the Atlanta Falcons. The 2012 sixth-round pick of the Cardinals (from Presbyterian) comes off a season in which he made a career-best six starts. He racked up 30 tackles, four passes defended and returned his lone interception of 2017 for a score. It marked the third consecutive year that the 27-year-old defensive back racked up a pick six. Bethel also added 11 stops on the kick coverage units.

Now he joins a Falcons’ team that was looking to add depth to its defensive backfield.

Contract details

At press time, there were no terms available when it came to Bethel’s contract with his new team. ESPN’s Field Yates reported the signing for the Atlanta Falcons.

National Reaction

Grade

While the 2017 Atlanta Falcons weren’t the prolific scorers that their predecessors from one year earlier were on the way to Super Bowl LI, Quinn’s defense was much better in many regards. Kudos to new coordinator Marquand Manuel, who took over for Richard Smith and helped the club elevate its game when it came to his side of the football.

What’s interesting is that while Bethel will add some depth to the secondary, his numbers when it comes to pass defense (via Pro Football Focus) leave a lot to be desired. However, the six-year pro earns much better marks when it comes to playing the run. And that’s a big plus for an Atlanta defense facing the ground attacks the likes of the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers in the NFC South.

Grade: A-





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