We’ve been tossing the Atlanta Falcons some criticism the last week or so for ignoring their best options to replenish the flood of injuries currently ravishing the defense. We even mentioned Robert Ayers last week as a potential fill-in for the injured Derrick Shelby.
Apparently they kicked the tires on Ayers and others, but the injury to Grady Jarrett is pushing them to add another defensive tackle.
The #Falcons are signing former #Jaguars DT Michael Bennett, sources say. They also worked out edge players Robert Ayers and Kony Ealy today, but interior depth the priority after Grady Jarrett sprained an ankle Sunday.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 2, 2018
This is bad news for Jarrett, who must be unlikely to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The signing suggests the coaching staff is worried he won’t play, or will be limited enough to make a roster move.
Michael Bennett, the one that is not a multi-time Pro Bowl player, looks to have been depth for the Jacksonville Jaguars. As in he has barely played since being a 6th round pick in 2015. His most noteworthy moment was getting cut after Dante Fowler, Jr. returned from suspension earlier in September. He missed the entire 2016 season, and almost all of 2017 both due to injury. Also troublesome: he did not work out at the NFL combine due to injury. He was also injured at his Pro Day. He missed a lot of his sophomore college season due to... wait for it... injury.
The interest in defensive ends is interesting. Ayers would be a solid rotational guy that could improve the leaky defensive line, and Kony Ealy is unquestionably bad but has flashed his pass rush skills at times that were mostly in the Super Bowl. It has been downhill from him since then, so I would probably not call him an upgrade at this point.
Update: As expected, Jarrett is out likely for a few games. Falcons cut DT Justin Zimmer in a corresponding roster move.