When the Falcons added ex-Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace to their front office this offseason, I’m not sure I expected him to be this impactful in free agency. Here the Falcons are, though, having already signed former Bears Damien Williams, Elijah Wilkinson and Teez Tabor, now exploring adding offensive lineman Germain Ifedi to the mix.
The team worked out the veteran, who will be 28 when the 202 season starts, but there’s no immediate word of a signing.
The Falcons hosted free agent OL Germain Ifedi on a visit. He spent the past two seasons in Chicago with Ryan Pace, who is now in the Falcons' front office.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 24, 2022
Ifedi started 23 games over the past two seasons in Chicago, playing mostly right tackle but also mixing in at right guard. In Atlanta, I’d fully expect him to compete with Kaleb McGary for the starting right tackle role, especially if the Falcons don’t pick up McGary’s fifth-year option and indicate that they’ll be moving on from him next offseason. Ifedi has started 83 games over his six seasons in the league, so it’s not like he lacks experience.
He has a mixed reputation as a blocker, to put it mildly. Bears Wire had some sharp words for the way he treated some of his teammates in Chicago and his pass protection woes in front of Justin Fields. Penalty issues and shakiness on passing downs soured the Seahawks and their fans on him, too, after the former first round pick spent four years in Seattle at both guard and tackle. It’s worth noting that in between the big errors that draw so much attention, Ifedi has put together stretches of quality play and still has the nastiness, strength and athleticism necessary to be a quality starter in this league if he can be more consistent. The Falcons, if they sign him, will be betting on that.
It’s always possible the Falcons envision Ifedi competing with Jalen Mayfield at left guard, given that some of his best games have come at guard, but that’s not a familiar position for him in the NFL. More than likely, if he’s brought aboard the team will be looking for him to go head-to-head with McGary this summer and let the winner hold down the fort at right tackle for Marcus Mariota. This regime has shown they’re not particularly attached to draft picks from the Thomas Dimitroff era outside of Jake Matthews and Chris Lindstrom, and Ifedi will likely have a real shot to unseat McGary even with the lack of consistency thus far in his NFL career.
We’ll see if Ifedi signs, but the Falcons are clearly not done adding competition and depth to their offensive line.