The Atlanta Falcons continue to build out their defense this offseason. The Falcons will acquire cornerback Jeff Okudah from the Detroit Lions for a 2023 fifth-round pick, ESPN reported on Tuesday. Atlanta is responsible for paying the $5.1 million in guaranteed money Okudah is owed in 2023.
The Falcons have until May 1 to decide if they want to pick up the fifth-year option on Okudah’s contract, which would pay him just more than $11.5 million in 2024. Atlanta traded the pick it acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars for wide receiver Calvin Ridley to get Okudah.
The Lions selected Okudah No. 3 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he never met expectations in Detroit. The former Ohio State cornerback battled injuries in 2020 and 2021, including a ruptured Achilles that cost him the entire 2021 season.
Okudah returned in 2022, recording a career-high 759 snaps. He finished with 75 tackles, one interception, seven passes defended and one forced fumble. However, Okudah also allowed 536 passing yards on 56 targets in coverage. The Lions defense surrendered the third-most passing yards in the NFL last season at 245.8 per game.
The Falcons defense didn’t fare much better last season, as it finished 25th in total passing yards and 27th in total yards allowed. Along with acquiring Okudah, the Falcons signed three key free agents — safety Jessie Bates, defensive linemen Calais Campbell and edge rusher David Onyemata to help bolster their defense.
Okudah will join Bates and fellow cornerback A.J. Terrell, who was a second-team All-Pro in 2021, in Atlanta’s revamped secondary.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.