Falcons sign free agent who had a career year for Arthur Smith – Home

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Getty The Falcons added a free agent who had a career year for Arthur Smith in 2020.

The connection between the Atlanta Falcons and the Tennessee Titans was strengthened when the former signed another free agent linked to head coach Arthur Smith. Former Titans star Marcus Mariota is already on the cards as the Falcons’ likely starting quarterback for 2022, and now he’ll be able to pitch to a familiar face.

That face was added to the tight end depth chart on Tuesday, April 12. This four-year veteran had a career season for Smith when the latter was the Titans’ offensive coordinator in 2020. Now, one of Smith’s former charges is expected to ease the burden on dynamic second-year playmaker Kyle Pitts.

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Smith meets another ancient Titan

The Falcons have agreed to a one-year deal with Anthony Firkser, according to Tori McElhaney of the team’s official website. Firsker spent the first three seasons of his pro career around Smith.

Smith initially served as Firkser’s position coach in 2018 before being promoted to coordinator a year later. It turned out to be a fruitful association, particularly during Smith’s second term of running the plays.

Firkser enjoyed his most productive year, posting career highs in receptions, 39, and yards, 387. It was a huge jump for a player who entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the New York Jets in 2017.

He spent time on the Jets and Kansas City Chiefs practice squads, but moving to Smith’s tight end offense unlocked Firkser’s talent. The Titans needed Firkser to step up after Delanie Walker canceled his career after the 2019 season.

Walker discussed Firkser’s potential during an appearance on the Talking w/TD podcast with Turron Davenport, via NFL.com’s Grant Gordon: “He sat under me for years and I tried to teach him everything I know, but the guy fretted. He can open up, he can catch the ball. I think he is going to be elite.”

Walker also said that Firkser “destroys linebackers in seconds.” Firkser fell short of expectations in 2021, his first season without Smith, catching 34 passes for 291 yards.

He scored two touchdowns, another career high, including this one against the Miami Dolphins from week 17:

Smith hopes to unleash the full range of Firkser’s athleticism and versatility in a passing game that appears worryingly reliant on Pitts.

Firkser offers natural support for Pitts

After a 68-catch, 1,026-yard rookie season, Pitts is leaving for Atlanta’s passing game. Especially when the Falcons’ options at wide receiver, including newcomers Auden Tate and Damiere Byrd, are less than compelling.

It would help to have another tight end capable of beating coverage. Firkser can fit the bill in the right scheme and also offset the need for the Falcons to add to the position on draft day.

There are some interesting prospects, including Greg Dulcich, who has had a top-30 visit with the Falcons, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. In terms of playing style and build, the 6-foot-2, 246-pound Firkser compares favorably to the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Dulcich.

Still, Kevin Knight of The Falcoholic thinks there’s still a scenario where the Falcons look for another tight end during the 2022 NFL draft:

Firkser isn’t a particularly imposing blocker, so we could still see the #Falcons target a blocking specialist late in the draft/UDFA. A good double threat option like Cade Otton or Isaiah Likely could also be in play on Day 2.

— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) April 12, 2022

Whatever the overall plan for Firkser, his arrival represents “the first significant signing the Falcons have done to rebuild the tight end position after Hayden Hurst left in free agency and Lee Smith retired at the end of the season.” past,” according to McElhaney.

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Falcons sign free agent who had a career year for Arthur Smith – Home