Falcons guard Ben Garland has signed his second-round restricted free agent tender, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Garland will now be paid $2.914MM for the 2018 season.
Garland was one of 14 NFL restricted free agents to be tendered at the second-round level, and he’s the first to officially sign his tender. Atlanta also tendered safety Ricardo Allen at the second-round level, but he’s yet to sign his contract. There’s no rush for Allen or any restricted free agent to sign his tender, as RFAs have until April 20 to work out offer sheets with other clubs.
Adding another guard was a key offseason priority for the Falcons, but Garland isn’t likely to become a starter in 2018. Not only did the Falcons sign veteran guard Brandon Fusco to a three-year deal, but they restructured the contract of fellow interior lineman Andy Levitre, ensuring he’ll remain on Atlanta’s roster during the upcoming campaign.
Instead, Garland will once again serve as depth for the Falcons, acting as a reserve alongside Ty Sambrailo, Wes Schweitzer, Austin Pasztor, and Sean Harlow. Last season, the 29-year-old Garland appeared in all 16 games and made three starts, ultimately playing on roughly a third of Atlanta’s offensive snaps and a third of the club’s special teams snaps. For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus graded Garland as the No. 50 guard among 77 qualifiers.
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