The Falcons have added some depth at the safety position by signing Tyrell Johnson, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Johnson is the latest in a group of veteran safeties who have found new homes this week, joining Jim Leonhard (Browns) and Steve Gregory (Chiefs). To clear a roster spot, Atlanta released fullback Roosevelt Nix, an undrafted free agent out of Kent State.
Johnson, 29, was a second-round draft choice by the Vikings in 2008, and started 27 games with the team. Per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required), he was effective as the Minnesota’s starter at strong safety during his first two seasons in the NFL. Since 2010, however, the former Arkansas State Indian has dealt with degraded play and injuries. Johnson spent time with both the Dolphins and the Lions over the past two years, but took the field for only four games (with Detroit in 2012).
The Falcons’ secondary was stretched a bit thin after Dwight Lowery, the projected starter at free safety, suffered a concussion on Friday. Lowery also missed time last season with a concussion, so the injury is concerning; in the above tweet, McClure even notes that Lowery’s season could be “in doubt.” Strong safety is in the hands of William Moore, but a competition at FS in now likely, with third-rounder Dezmen Southward, who is dealing with a minor knee injury, a candidate for increased playing time.