NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero were the first to break the news.
Shortly after, the Falcons tweeted the announcement to the fans as well.
Falcons Hit the Jackpot
It’s hard not to feel bad for Rams fans as they’ve lost a few of their best players this offseason. This is a group that includes lineman Michael Brockers, linebacker Cory Littleton and slot cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman.
But the Falcons needed this addition. Vic Beasley couldn’t finish the job last year so it was time for him to leave Atlanta and for the team to find a new fit for the position they struggled at most last season. The Falcons had only 28 sacks the entire year which had them ranked second to last in the NFL.
The deal with Fowler is reportedly worth up to $48 million over the next three years.
Fowler, 25, came to the Rams in 2018 through a midseason trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, He helped the Rams reach the Super Bowl. He was set to become a free agent before last season but signed a one-year, $12-million contract with the Rams that also included $2 million in performance incentives.
Fowler was stellar last season and recorded a career-best 11.5 sacks for the Rams. However, the team finished 9-7 and ended up missing the playoffs.
Fowler was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars as the third overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Missouri. He has had a total of 27.5 career sacks in the NFL. Fowler is regarded as one of the top pending free-agent pass rushers this year and someone the Falcons have had their eye on.
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Takk McKinley’s Future?
The Falcons are also reportedly set to take Takk McKinley’s fifth-year option. He tried to play through his shoulder injury in 2019 and finished with 3.5 sacks before having to undergo surgery and, missing the remainder of the year. That will mark the third shoulder injury of his career.
McKinley is well known as a competitor over his three years in the league. He’s constantly pressuring the quarterback, but can’t always finish the job. This has been a problem for the Falcons and one they will need to address come draft day, even with the addition of Fowler.
As a Falcon, McKinley has played in a total of 45 games and made 21 starts. He has 16.5 sacks, including a high of seven in 2018.
In order to keep him, the Falcons would really need McKinley to recover fully from his shoulder surgery and come back on top. McKinley has a $3.25 million cap hit this year, which is affordable if he can prove himself.
Between the addition of Fowler and McKinley potentially coming back at 100 percent, the Falcons have to great options. But they will still need to add another pass-rusher come draft day.