The Atlanta Falcons made a big splash in free agency on Thursday when they inked Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dontari Poe to a one-year, $8 million contract.

Poe can earn an additional $2 million through incentives in the contract. Poe fills arguably the Falcons biggest team need. Earlier in the free agency period, the team decided not to bring back defensive tackles Tyson Jackson and Jonathan Babinueax.

“Poe is an athletic, big guy that can push the pocket,” said Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. “He will add to our defensive line group and will mix nicely with Beasley, Jarrett, Shelby and Clayborn. We are happy to be able to add him to our roster.”

Poe was the 11th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. Falcons assistant General Manager Scott Pioli actually drafted Poe when he was the decision maker in Kansas City, so that likely played into Poe’s decision to sign with Atlanta. He was courted by the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and Jacksonville Jaguars but ultimately decided Atlanta was his best choice.

In 78 career games, Poe has recorded 202 total tackles, 13 sacks, 12 passes defended, and 2 forced fumbles. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in both 2013 and 2014. Last season, he struggled through a lingering back injury that hurt his production and ultimately forced him to accept a 1 year, prove your healthy deal.

Poe is a big addition to a Falcons defensive line that was once considered a weakness. He is expected to play both the 3 technique and nose tackle in Dan Quinn’s defense. Atlanta now features a deep and talented defensive line group that includes Vic Beasley, Dontari Poe, Grady Jarrett, Adrian Clayborn, Jack Crawford, Brooks Reed, and Ra’Shede Hageman.


Josh Schultz is a staff writer for Pro Football Spot’s Atlanta Falcons Coverage. Follow Josh on twitter @draftblackboard and on his Facebook page: Josh Schultz, Pro Football Spot.