The Atlanta Falcons desperately need additions on the offensive line, and they’re looking to help address the issue with their latest free agent signing.
The Falcons announced on Monday afternoon they have signed former Chicago Bears starter and Pittsburgh Steelers guard Rashaad Coward to a reserve/futures contract.
The 27-year old Coward is listed at 6-5 and 319 pounds and started 15 games across the 2019 and 2020 seasons for the Bears.
Coward started 10 games at guard in 2019 and split his time between right tackle and left guard in 2020. He had a very similar profile to the Falcons’ Matt Gono, who missed all of 2021 with an injury.
In 2020, Coward logged 198 snaps at left guard and 133 snaps at right tackle. That same season Gono had 68 snaps at left guard and 232 snaps at right tackle.
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Gono signed a one-year $3.4 million contract with the Falcons prior to the 2021 season, but didn’t take a single snap because of injury. Gono likely would have seen significant time at left guard where rookie Jalen Mayfield was forced into action before he was ready.
Mayfield started 16 games at left guard for Atlanta in 2020, but the 21-year old was graded as the 77th ranked guard out of 83 eligible by Pro Football Focus (PFF).
Coward should help provide competition and depth for Mayfield at guard as well as Kaleb McGary at right tackle. … and of course protection for QB Matt Ryan.
This season, Coward saw action in one game with the Jacksonville Jaguars before finishing the last four games of the season with the Steelers. He was used primarily on special teams.
Coward joins former San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Daniel Helm as the team’s most recent signings. The Falcons are suddenly thin at the tight end position with the retirement of Lee Smith and the pending free agency of Hayden Hurst