Falcons Sign CB/ST Justin Bethel

The Falcons have signed former Cardinals cornerback and special teamer Justin Bethel, per a Falcons release. ESPN’s Field Yates first reported that a deal between the two sides was done (on Twitter) and ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss first reported that Bethel was likely headed to the Falcons (on Twitter).

Bethel’s deal will be for one year, though the terms have of the deal have yet to be revealed, per ESPN’s Vaughn McLure (on Twitter).

Bethel, 27, has been one of the NFL’s most prominent gunners, having already been selected to three Pro Bowls, and has seen more time at cornerback in recent years with the Cardinals.

Bethel represents the Falcons’ biggest free-agent offseason splash thus far. Up until Saturday, their only free-agent addition was signing former 49ers guard Brandon Fusco and re-signing defensive end Derrick Shelby. The Falcons had hosted Bethel for a visit on Wednesday.

The Cardinals are dealt another loss to their secondary having already watched Tyrann Mathieu sign with the Texans following his release. They added depth to their secondary Friday by signing Bene Benwikere to a one-year deal. Safety Tyvon Branch remains the Cardinals’ final unsigned unrestricted free agent in their secondary.

Bethel didn’t start a single game at cornerback in his first three years in the NFL after the Cardinals took him in the sixth round of the 2012 draft. Over the last three years, though, he’s accumulated 14 starts at cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. He’s racked up four interceptions in that time, including a pick-six in each season.

The Falcons have Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford locked in at cornerback with long-term deals. While Bethel is likely to contribute on the Falcons’ special teams they are thin in their cornerback depth. Brian Poole, Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Marcelis Branch currently serve as the only other cornerbacks on the roster outside of Trufant and Alford.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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