Atlanta Falcons to sign Dante Fowler Jr.: Grade, reaction and more

Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams, NFL Free Agency

The Atlanta Falcons have found Vic Beasley’s replacement in Dante Fowler, a pass-rusher head coach Dan Quinn is very familiar with from his days at Florida.

Atlanta Falcons fans have been dying for a consistently competent pass-rusher for a very, very long time. Well, Dirty Bird Nation’s prayers were answered on Wednesday, as former Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. will be joining his former college coach Dan Quinn in Atlanta in his impending free agency.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports it will be a three-year deal worth $48 million to bring Fowler to Atlanta. By landing Fowler, Atlanta has officially replaced the often-ridiculed Vic Beasley Jr. as their top edge rusher. Fowler had played for Quinn briefly in college on the Florida Gators and was taken a few spots ahead of Beasley in the 2015 NFL Draft. Atlanta has to love this move.

The Falcons already have a Pro Bowler along their defensive line in defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who is essentially Aaron Donald Lite for the Dirty Birds. Atlanta could still look to bring back defensive end Adrian Clayborn this spring. They also have Takkarist McKinley entering a critical year of his NFL career with the Falcons.

Here are the contract details, the national reaction and a grade on Fowler signing with the Falcons.

Contract Details

Per Rapoport, Fowler will be signing a three-year contract for $48 million to join the Falcons. He will be earning an average salary of $16 million over the life of the contract.

Fowler will only be entering his age-26 season after having not received the fifth-year option as a former first-round pick previously. He won’t be hitting free agency again until his age-29 season in 2023.

National Reaction

This free-agent signing by the Falcons is being very well received. Fowler is coming off his first double-digit sack season of his career and he now fills Atlanta’s biggest glaring weakness. Obviously, expectations are very high for Fowler, as he’s about to join a franchise who hasn’t had a consistently great edge rusher since John Abraham. It’s a big spot for him, but he can handle it.

Ultimately, how the Falcons go about addressing their other needs at cornerback and running back after parting ways with Desmond Trufant and Devonta Freeman will go a long way in seeing if the Dirty Birds can contend in the NFC South next year.

For now, Atlanta has to be thrilled about landing an emerging star pass-rusher that is about to enter his prime, a huge get for the Falcons.

Grade: A

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