The Atlanta Falcons continued adding talent to their defense on Wednesday by signing veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell to a one-year deal, NFL Media reported.
The Baltimore Ravens released Campbell following the 2022 season after three seasons with the team. Campbell quickly met with the Falcons after his release and signed, partly thanks to a 40-minute phone conversation with owner Arthur Blank about charitable efforts in Atlanta.
The 36-year-old defensive tackle still produced well last season, despite playing just 588 snaps in 14 games. Campbell finished with six sacks, 29 quarterback pressures and seven tackles for loss. He should improve a Falcons defense that finished 31st in total sacks last season.
Chuck Pagano, an analyst for The 33rd Team, believes Campbell’s leadership is just as valuable as his pass-rush skills.
“[He’s] one of the most respected players and teammates in the NFL,” Pagano said earlier this offseason when Campbell was released. “2019, he’s the Walter Payton Man of the Year. This past season he was the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award winner. You’re getting a great human being and locker room guy.”
The Falcons have spent a lot of money on their defense this offseason. The team signed IDL David Onyemata to a three-year, $35 million deal, LB Kaden Elliss to a three-year, $21.5 million deal and SAF Jessie Bates to a four-year, $64 million deal. Atlanta also hired a new defensive coordinator in Ryan Nielsen.
On offense, the Falcons have committed to QB Desmond Ridder. At the NFL owners’ meetings on Tuesday, coach Arthur Smith declared Ridder was Atlanta’s starter and refused to address rumors the team was pursuing Lamar Jackson.