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Falcons sign OLB James Vaughters to 16th and final open practice squad spot

At least for now, maybe the Falcons really are going to carry three quarterbacks.

NFL: AUG 14 Preseason - Dolphins at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Falcons roster is not settled, not just yet, so any sweeping conclusions we reach today may be null and void by the first season game. That said, I’m surprised the Falcons are going with three quarterbacks on the roster for any length of time, and with their 16th and final open practice squad for the moment going to a defender, that will apparently be the case.

Per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter, that player will be former Bears and Packers outside linebacker James Vaughters.

Vaughters was an undrafted free agent for the Packers back in 2015, and he has played in 17 regular season games with the Chicago Bears, all as a reserve. Over that span, he has 1.5 sacks, all of which came a year ago. It’s that 2020 season, which Falcons coach Ted Monachino would’ve seen firsthand as an outside linebackers coach in Chicago, that probably got Vaughters signed in Atlanta, as he was fairly productive in limited opportunities. It’s worth noting that he also played 34% of the special teams snaps for Chicago a year ago, and special teams value is obviously something the Falcons are looking for more or less across the board in their reserves and practice squad players.

While Vaughters isn’t a surprising signing—D-Led connected those days a couple days ago in what was likely more than an educated guess—the fact that the Falcons are electing to carry three quarterbacks on their roster is a bit of a surprise. Again, I don’t want to draw any sweeping conclusions given that they could very well drop one of these players before the start of the season, but it appears the team will at least take a bit longer to look at Josh Rosen and Feleipe Franks before deciding which one to keep as Matt Ryan’s backup. It’s possible, though I’d wager still not likely, that they’ll elect to carry both for a while, as they appear to want to give Rosen a legitimate shot and they very obviously like Franks.

Give Vaughters a warm welcome in Atlanta, and we’ll see if there’s more roster and practice squad shuffling ahead.