By Connor Grott
The Atlanta Falcons are adding a much-needed upgrade to their defensive line after agreeing to terms with Los Angeles Rams edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. on Wednesday.
League sources told ESPN and NFL Media that Fowler agreed to a three-year, $48 million contract with the Falcons. The team has yet to confirm the agreement.
Fowler, who played for Falcons head coach Dan Quinn while at the University of Florida, will fill a major need for Atlanta’s pass rush. The Falcons generated only 28 sacks last season, tied for the second-lowest total in the NFL.
Fowler, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, notched a career-best 11.5 sacks with the Rams last season, his second with the franchise after being traded by the Jacksonville Jaguars midway through the 2018 campaign.
Former first-round pick Takkarist McKinley, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, is expected to work off the other edge opposite Fowler. Both players provide quickness off the edge to pair with star defensive tackle Grady Jarrett’s push inside.
The Falcons were expected to target a standout pass-rusher in free agency after the team parted ways with former sack champ Vic Beasley Jr., who agreed to a deal with the Tennessee Titans this week. Atlanta also could look at defensive linemen in the upcoming draft for additional depth.
Fowler, 25, has notched 141 total tackles, 27.5 sacks, 12 passes defensed, 43 quarterback hits, six forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries in four seasons between the Jaguars and Rams. He missed the entirety of his rookie season after tearing his ACL on the first day of minicamp.