As it turns out, that was merely the first of four contract announcements. Later in the afternoon, the Falcons formally announced the signing of Tuioti-Mariner, as well as the signing of three other exclusive rights free agents, including placekicker Younghoe Koo, who made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career in 2020.
Pro Bowler Younghoe Koo
Younghoe Koo entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017, appearing in four games before getting waived, having made just three of six field goal attempts. In 2019 he spent time on the practice squad of the New England Patriots before the Falcons signed him in late October, after which he converted 23 of 26 field goal attempts and 15 of 16 extra points.
Last year he was even better, earning Pro Bowl honors by virtue of making 37 of 39 field goal attempts (94.9 percent), including eight of eight from at least 50 yards. He also converted 33 of 36 extra point attempts for a career-high 144 points. In fact, Koo’s 37 made field goals led the NFL and surpassed Matt Bryant (35 in 2016 and 2017) for the most field goals in a single season in franchise history.
Equally notable is that the Georgia Southern product converted 27 consecutive field goals between Week 4 and Week 15 last year, the longest in-season streak in Falcons history and the second-longest streak in franchise history overall. As noted by AtlantaFalcons.com, in 2020 “Koo also became the first player to make at least eight field goals of 50-or-more yards without a miss in a season in team history.”
Blake and Hall, Too
Meanwhile, the Falcons also re-upped with wide receiver Christian Blake and cornerback Tyler Hall.
Blake was originally signed by the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2018 (Northern Illinois) and spent part of his rookie season on the practice squad. Over the course of the past two years he has played in 25 games (three starts) and has amassed 24 receptions for 232 yards. Last year he had a career-best season, recording 13 catches for 141 yards (10.8-yard average).
For his part, Hall was inked by the Falcons after the 2020 NFL Draft, an undrafted free agent out of the University of Wyoming. He started his rookie season on the practice squad and appeared in two games as a practice squad elevation before he was signed to Atlanta’s active roster in Week 6.
Hall—who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds—recorded two solo tackles on defense last year, as well as four special teams tackles.
As for the aforementioned Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, he has the potential to become a bigger part of the team’s defensive line rotation in 2021. He had a breakout game in Week 12 of last season, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors by recording five total tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in a blowout win against the Las Vegas Raiders.
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