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Report: Falcons to bring back versatile defensive lineman Cliff Matthews

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The former Falcons seventh rounder was a fixture on Mike Smith’s Falcons, and he’ll make his triumphant return.

Atlanta Falcons v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

With Derrick Shelby going on injured reserve, it seemed odd that the Falcons would promote yet another defensive back in Sharrod Neasman, even if I’m an avowed fan of the rookie. Now it appears the other shoe is dropping, with ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reporting that Cliff Matthews is coming back to the team.

Matthews, who is only 27 years old despite being drafted by the Falcons in the 7th round way back in 2011, was a Mike Smith favorite. He played 32 games for Atlanta from 2011-2014, ultimately getting released on September 4, 2015, and winding up with the Buccaneers for a year before being released again in September.

He re-joins a team looking a little light on depth along the defensive front, and Matthews is a useful piece for a team seeking more help at both defensive end and defensive tackle. He’s previously played both, offers solid ability against the run, and can help out on special teams, making this a virtually no-risk, moderate upside signing. Plus. we all love Cliff Matthews.

With Matthews returning and Neasman up, chances are good a defensive back will be released to make room, and Dashon Goldson is the name to watch here. We should know more later today, but in the meantime, welcome back Cliff.