The Atlanta Falcons signed free agent safety Ron Parker this afternoon. And let’s give credit where credit is due, because Dave kinda called this one back in February. Parker will serve as veteran depth and immediate elevates what was already an exceptional secondary.
Falcoholic alumnus and featured writer at The Mothership Will McFadden got some money quotes from Parker after he signed. Here’s what Parker had to say about why he decided to join the Falcons.
“I think this is a good organization for me to be with. Couple of steps off from winning the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, and I think we’re that close to getting it this year.”
You may be inclined to overlook this assessment. “Of course he had nice things to say about the Falcons, James! They just gave him a job!” But think about this for a second.
The Chiefs relied heavily on Parker over the past five years. He played over ninety percent of their defensive snaps during that time period. He admittedly had an off year in 2017; PFF gave him a 40.1 rating, 84th among safeties. But the Chiefs offered him an opportunity to take a pay cut and remain with the team. (Cutting Parker saved the Chiefs $5 million.) He declined that offer and tested free agency.
We don’t know how much the Falcons plan on paying Parker yet, but I’d bet he could’ve made the same or more with the Chiefs. That means he was effectively recruited to Atlanta based largely on their reputation. Parker endured a 1-4 playoff record during his tenure with the Chiefs. He wasn’t in the mood for more of the same, notwithstanding his lengthy tenure in Kansas City. In short, he’s trying to get on the train before it leaves the station.
The fact that a free agent of his stature (i.e., solid veteran depth that’s now willing to take a lesser role) perceived the Falcons like that means something. It’s encouraging knowing there may be some tough, payroll-related decisions to be made over the next few years. Good get, Dimitroff. Good get.