4:01pm: The Falcons are moving quickly. They will sign the former Bengals corner, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This will be Dennard’s second free agency agreement this year, following his nixed Jaguars pact.
3:48pm: With the coronavirus testing portion of training camps underway, the ice surrounding the remaining high-profile free agents is beginning to thaw. The Falcons conducted a visit with cornerback Darqueze Dennard recently, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
Dennard has been a free agent since his three-year, $13.5MM Jaguars deal fell through in late March. The Jags and Dennard agreed to terms during the legal tampering period, but the pact did not end up being finalized.
The Falcons have seen some turnover at cornerback this offseason. They cut longtime No. 1 corner Desmond Trufant and used their first-round pick on Clemson’s A.J. Terrell. The team could still use some help here, however. A six-year Bengal contributor, Dennard resides as one of the better free agent defenders available.
The Bengals re-signed Dennard on a one-year deal in 2019. He did not debut last season until late October, with a knee injury taking longer than expected to heal. But the former first-round pick started five Bengals games last year, moving his career total to 24. He has worked largely as a slot defender as a pro. Pro Football Focus graded Dennard as its No. 21 overall corner last season, during which he played 495 snaps.
The Falcons lost slot defender Brian Poole in free agency last year and did not see a strong performance from their secondary in 2019. Second-round pick Isaiah Oliver has yet to justify the team’s investment; Atlanta graded 25th in pass defense DVOA last season. Dennard, a Georgia native, provides more experience than any current Falcons corner. Ahead of the COVID-19-altered season, that figures to be critical.
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