Less than two weeks ago, Eddie Goldman agreed to terms with the Falcons. But the veteran nose tackle has changed his mind. Goldman instead intends to walk away from the game, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
Goldman’s one-year Falcons deal was worth $1.3MM, and it came with just more than $1MM guaranteed. Goldman, who had previously spent his entire career with the Bears, will pass on a seventh NFL season to retire at 28. The Falcons have since confirmed Goldman’s intention (Twitter link).
This news comes days from the Falcons’ training camp report date for veterans. It also marks the second time in three years Goldman has made a late-summer decision not to play football. In 2020, the former second-round pick informed the Bears he was opting out due to COVID-19 concerns. Goldman returned to play one more season in Chicago, but the Bears’ new regime released him to start this offseason.
Goldman did well for himself as a pro, starting for a No. 1-ranked Bears defense in 2018. That unit, which featured accomplished veterans at most spots, helped snap an eight-season Bears playoff drought. More pivotal to Goldman’s path, the Bears took care of him shortly before that season commenced. Goldman signed a four-year, $42MM extension during the 2018 offseason. That deal came with $25MM guaranteed. While part of that contract tolled after his opt-out choice, the Florida State alum collected most of the money from that deal.
While Goldman later teamed with Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith on one of the league’s top front sevens, he beat all of those vets to Chicago by going in the 2015 second round. Pace misfired with his first pick as Bears GM (wideout Kevin White) but hit on Goldman, who started 73 of the 81 games he played with the Bears. Though known more for run defense, Goldman finished his career with 13 sacks. One of those was a safety, coming when Goldman sacked Jared Goff to give the Bears a second-half lead in a 2019 upset win in Los Angeles.
The Bears disbanded this decorated front seven, for the most part, this year. Mack, Hicks and Trevathan are also gone, and Robert Quinn skipped minicamp as he aimed to be traded. The Falcons still have Grady Jarrett, but their defensive line still invites questions. Atlanta is starting over on the edge, having drafted two Day 3 pass rushers after signing Lorenzo Carter. Inside, Atlanta used Anthony Rush as its first-string nose tackle during the offseason. The team also has former second-round pick Marlon Davidson (one start in two seasons) as an interior D-line cog.