The Atlanta Falcons tendered Ben Garland at a second round level, worth nearly $3 million, and then signed guard Brandon Fusco. That created some confusion and a fairly packed depth chart at the guard position, but it also ensured the Falcons have one of their steadiest veteran linemen around for another year.
Per the league’s transaction wire and as reported by D. Orlando Ledbetter at the AJC, Garland signed yesterday, so now it’s official. The transaction wire does list Garland as a defensive end, however, which seems...erroneous.
Our original report followed NFLTradeRumors.co, which indicated that the Falcons elected not to use a second round tender and instead sign Garland to an unspecified deal. While we haven’t heard officially from the team yet, it appears that Garland signed with the Falcons and there was no offer sheet from another team, meaning he’ll be here for 2018 at the second round tender level, worth over $2.9 million. We’ll see if the Falcons consider bringing Garland back for a multi-year deal after 2018.
Garland will be a key reserve, too. I’d expect him to be Alex Mack’s direct backup at center, Andy Levitre’s likely backup at left guard, and potentially a part-time player at defensive tackle once again. If the Falcons can keep him around a little longer while defraying their costs in 2018, it’s a move I don’t think anyone’s ultimately going to be unhappy with.
The battle for reserve guard roles should be an interesting one, too, come this summer. The Falcons currently have Fusco and Levitre locked in as starters, with Garland, Wes Schweitzer, Sean Harlow, Austin Pasztor and potentially a rookie guard all competing for a couple of spots.