Falcons Sign Quality Blocker to 3-Year Extension

Keith Smith

getty Keith Smith #40 of the Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta Falcons announced Saturday afternoon that they have agreed to terms with fullback Keith Smith on a three-year contract extension.

Smith’s Conversion to Fullback

Smith, 27,  played college ball for the San Jose State Spartans. The Falcons signed as Smith in 2019 where he played in all 16 games. 2019 was a career-high season for smith. He appeared in 196 snaps as a Falcon and have five rushes for 8 yards.

Prior to joining the Falcons, Smith played with the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders.

He spent most of his time in a Cowboys uniform. In 2014, the Cowboys signed Smith as an undrafted free agent. He quickly moved up to the active roster due to multiple injuries of starters. Smith made a name for himself during a season opener win against the St. Louis Rams when he lined up with the defense in a play where the Cowboys stopped the Rams on a 4th-and-inches in the third quarter. The Cowboys barely beat the Rams  34–31 to start the season. He finished his rookie season with ten game appearances.

Smith had a bumpy road as a cowboy. He was released right after rookie campy so the Cowboys could make room for free agent safety Danny McCray. However, once linebacker Keith Rivers announced his retirement, Smith was re-signed and made special teams and played until Rolando McClain’s suspension was over. This happened about two more times for Smith.

In 2015, the Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett converted Smith into a fullback.

Keith finally earned a starting position in 2016 at the end of training camp. He had his first career carry for a three-yard gain in the Cowboys’ season-opening to the New York Giants. In Week 2, he made his first career reception on a five-yard pass from quarterback Dak Prescott with a 27–23 win over the Washington Redskins. Smith also had one rushing attempt for a two-yard gain and caught one pass for a 14-yard gain in a 24–17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. He earned his first career start in 2017 during a 27–14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Smith even contributed to rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott winning the NFL rushing title while finishing his first season as a fullback with two carries for five yards and three receptions for 20 receiving yards in 16 games and one start. He also was a core special teams player.

In 2018, Smith signed a 2-year contract with the raiders and was waived by 2019.

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Quality Blocker

Keith Smith has proven himself to the Falcons to be a quality blocker, hence his 3-year deal with the Falcons. Atlanta struggled in the run game last year, but Smith could only pull so much weight. The team finished last season with the third-fewest rushing yards per game and went without a 100-yard rusher for the season for the first time since 2013.

Whether it’s Devonta Freeman in the backfield or a replacement, Smith will no doubt be there to block him to his best ability.

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