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Falcons sign OL Germain Ifedi

Atlanta has signed a player likely to compete with Kaleb McGary for the right tackle job.

Cincinnati Bengals v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When the Falcons worked out Germain Ifedi, it was fair to assume they were weighing a signing with an eye on having him compete with Kaleb McGary at right tackle. Ifedi has extensive experience at both guard and tackle, but only on the right side of the line in the NFL, and Chris Lindstrom isn’t exactly budging off of the right guard job.

Now we’ll see if that plays out as expected, because a couple of weeks after that workout, the Falcons have reportedly signed Ifedi to a one-year deal.

Ifedi, who will be 28 this year, started 23 games over the past two seasons for the Chicago Bears. This is yet another signing with Ryan Pace’s fingerprints all over it—he’s clearly been in Terry Fontenot’s ear since joining the front office—but it also fits with the team’s pattern of short-term deals focused on backfilling significant team needs. The Falcons didn’t have a strong reserve at tackle under contract, and they figured to want someone to compete with McGary given that his contract is up after this year and the Falcons don’t seem likely to extend him the fifth-year option. If Ifedi is a wild success in Atlanta and beats out McGary, they’ll have the cap space to re-sign him in 2023 to anchor that right tackle spot. If not, well, it’s a one-year deal.

I wouldn’t expect him to be a runaway success here. Ifedi has had some quality stretches in the past in both Chicago and Seattle, but he’s been shaky more often than not between lapses in blocking and penalty problems. Ifedi’s still young enough and talented enough to think that the right landing spot might be transformative for him, but his experience and mostly solid work in pass protection at least makes him a solid reserve for a team that needs help along their offensive line.

Give Germain Ifedi a warm welcome to Atlanta, as is customary, and we’ll see if he can beat out McGary for the right tackle job this summer.