On Wednesday, April 6 the team announced the addition of offensive lineman Germain Ifedi, who joins the Falcons on a one-year contract.
The Falcons had initially hosted Ifedi for a visit two weeks ago and they had must have liked what they saw from him in order to sing him a few days later.
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Ifedi Is a Former First-Round Pick
Ifedi, 27, was originally selected in the first round (31st overall) by the Seattle Seahawks in 2016, becoming the fourth-straight Texas A&M offensive lineman to go in the first round of an NFL Draft.
He started all but 3 games during his rookie season at right guard. In 2017, Ifedi was starting every game, this time at right tackle for Seattle, however, he led the league in penalties that season with 16 after committing only 6 during his first year.
Ifedi didn’t improve in 2018, thus leading to the Seahawks’ decision to decline his fifth-year options in 2019.
The Chicago Bears picked him up in 2020 on a one-year deal and re-signed him in 2021. Ifedi started 23 of his 25 games during his time with the Bears, spending time at guard in 2020 before being moved to right tackle last season.
Heading into the 2022 season, the Falcons currently have Kaleb McGary as their right tackle starter and Chris Lindstrom at right guard, but Ifedi will be a boost to their lackluster depth chart if he can refrain from causing any more penalties.
The Falcons’ Connection to the Bears
Atlanta has now signed five former Bears this offseason:
- Offensive lineman Germain Ifedi
- Wide receiver Damiere Byrd
- Safety Teez Tabor
- Offensive lineman Elijah Wilkinson
- Running back Damien Williams
These moves make sense since the Falcons have a handful of Bears on their coaching staff and in their front office, including former Bears’ general manager Ryan Pace.
The team hired Pace in February to serve as a senior personnel executive.
And is no stranger to the Falcons’ front office after working with general manager Terry Fontenot in New Orleans for 13 seasons. However, after 15 total years with the Saints, Pace left to take the Bears GM job in 2015, where he was until he was fired following the 2021 season.
Chicago decided to move on from Pace after seven seasons, a 48-65 overall record and failing to log a playoff win. He is also well-known for drafting Mitch Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson and continues to take a lot of heat from NFL fans for that move.
During his seven-year regime, Chicago made it to the playoffs twice, but without a quarterback, they never made it past round 1. Their first postseason birth under Pace came in 2018 when they went 12-4, but then were eliminated in the wild-card round. Two years later, they made it to the playoffs after an 8-8 season in 2020, but again, were eliminated in the wild-card round.
After letting Trubisky walk in free agency, they put rookie quarterback Justin Fields front and center, who was clearly not ready for the big leagues just yet, and finished the 2021 season 6-11.
Pace is joined by some other former Bears coaches in Atlanta, including offensive coordinator Dave Ragone, quarterbacks coach Charles London, running backs coach Michael Pitre and outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino. Not to mention ex-Bears general manager Phil Emery, whom Pace replaced in Chicago and is now working as a senior personnel executive under Fontenot as well.