The Falcons are spending their limited free agent dollars on defense so far. After adding safety Erik Harris, who came over from the Raiders to compete for a starting safety spot, they’ve added linebacker Brandon Copeland.
The former Patriot and Jet had also visited with the Giants but decided to join Atlanta on a one year deal that’ll likely be near the veteran minimum. It’s not a surprise signing, given that the team’s interest was reported multiple times over the past week.
In Copeland, the Falcons get a reliable special teamer and reserve linebacker who had 5 sacks and 27 pressures back in 2018, and that plus a track record of solid run defense should earn him a role on a retooling Dean Pees defense. This is exactly the kind of versatile, affordable signing the Falcons figure to continue to prioritize in the weeks ahead before they add more talent via the draft. In Atlanta, Copeland will probably spend some time rushing the passer alongside Dante Fowler and Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, as well as backing up Foye Oluokun and Mykal Walker. Like Harris, his most prominent role will likely be on special teams, where Marquice Williams is stockpiling dependable players.
Copeland likely comes aboard with a recommendation from Frank Bush, the new Falcons linebackers coach who worked with him back in 2019 with the Jets. That season, Copeland played in 12 games (he missed four due to a PED suspension) and had 1.5 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. He’s coming off a year with the Patriots where he only played in six games, but he’ll likely be much more of a factor for a thin Falcons defense.
We’ll see where the Falcons go next, but given how much help they need on defense, we’re happy to see Copeland joining up.