UPDATE: D. Orlando Ledbetter reporting that the deal is five years, $17.5 million.
Our favorite free agent linebacker once looked likely to wander out into the open market. In the immortal words of a disgusted deaf amnesiac, forget that noise.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Falcons have re-upped with Stephen Nicholas for five years. If this is true, the team’s top backup at both outside linebacker spots and one of its most versatile defenders will be a member of the Falcons until he’s 33 years old.
This is great news, because Nicholas is basically an above average linebacker, a guy who can start in a pinch and offers a ton of value for the Falcons. He can help tutor Akeem Dent as the rookie grows into his role, and the length of this deal signals to me that Nicholas may well be starting outside in place of Mike Peterson sooner rather than later. With his balanced skill set, Nickels would be an excellent fit.
In 2010, he posted 78 tackles and an interception. For his career, which began in 2007 as a rookie under Bobby Petrino, Nicholas has 211 tackles, five sacks, seven pass deflections and an interception.
So there’s your first big free agent signing of the new league year, one that keeps a quality piece of a revived Falcons defense on the payroll for a half a decade. Worth celebrating, I’d say.
Weigh in on the return of Nicholas.