clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Falcons sign cornerback and ace special teamer Justin Bethel

New, comments

The team just confirmed the signing, which was reported as likely earlier this morning.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons have shown interest in cornerback and special teamer Justin Bethel, bringing him in for a visit recently, and now he’s a Falcon. This is the kind of signing Keith Armstrong will likely applaud, and it means the Falcons’ secondary is one backup safety from being good enough to roll with.

Bethel, 27, is a three-time Pro Bowler for his work on special teams, primarily as a gunner. He’s very fast and is the kind of signing that seems specifically geared to improve Keith Armstrong’s special teams unit, as the Falcons did not get the play from their gunners they expected a year ago, part of a larger malaise that swept through much of the unit.

Bethel is also a cornerback, though the Falcons would be best off if he wasn’t any higher on the depth chart than, say, fifth. He has speed, as mentioned, but his coverage skills are nothing to write home about, making him a better emergency option at the position.

This is another likely low-cost signing meant to shore up a 2017 weakness, and while Bethel won’t be one of the team’s most critical players in 2018, he’ll provide solid enough depth and will likely improve special teams. Now the Falcons truly can focus on the big question marks along the defensive line in the draft, which is something worth looking forward to.

Welcome to Atlanta, Justin Bethel!