Sports

Source — Dante Fowler, Falcons reach 3-year, $48M deal

The Atlanta Falcons have filled a major need by agreeing to terms with pass-rusher Dante Fowler on a three-year, $48 million deal, a source told ESPN’s Vaughn McClure on Wednesday.

Atlanta generated just 28 sacks last season. Fowler, who played for Falcons coach Dan Quinn while in college at Florida, brings quickness off the edge to pair with Grady Jarrett‘s push inside.

Fowler had 11.5 sacks with the Los Angeles Rams last season after 3½ turbulent years with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Former first-round pick Takk McKinley, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, might work off the other edge opposite Fowler. The Falcons also could target a defensive lineman high in the draft as well.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank made it clear to ESPN after the season that the top priority was getting to opposing quarterbacks, and the Falcons figured to target a pass-rusher in free agency after former sack champ Vic Beasley Jr. agreed to a deal with Tennessee.

The Rams acquired Fowler, 25, at the trade deadline in 2018, and he showed steady improvement down the stretch and into the postseason. He produced a signature moment in the NFC Championship Game when he pressured New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees into throwing an errant pass that was intercepted and eventually led to a Rams field goal and a trip to Super Bowl LIII.

Fowler played the 2019 season on a one-year deal worth $12 million.

His time with the Rams has been drastically different from his tenure in Jacksonville, which included issues on and off the field.

The third overall pick in 2015, Fowler did not play his rookie season after tearing his ACL during rookie minicamp. In 2016, Fowler was captured on video appearing to referee a fight between his girlfriend and the mother of his child. A few weeks later, Fowler was arrested and charged with misdemeanor counts of assault against a police officer and resisting arrest without violence; the charges were later dropped.

Fowler served a one-week suspension in training camp for a fight that involved Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Fowler also was suspended for the season opener after pleading no contest to charges of battery, criminal mischief and petty theft stemming from a July 2017 arrest in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida. He also was issued more than 10 traffic citations in a two-year period.

In four NFL seasons, Fowler has 27.5 sacks, 43 quarterback hits, 6 forced fumbles and 5 fumble recoveries.

ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry contributed to this report.



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