Falcons add depth at cornerback, special teams by signing Justin Bethel

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Justin Bethel
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Justin Bethel /

The Atlanta Falcons have signed three-time Pro Bowler Justin Bethel from the Arizona Cardinals to a one-year deal.

The Falcons have agreed to terms with three-time Pro Bowler Justin Bethel, per Kelsey Conway of AtlantaFalcons.com.

Bethel spent six seasons in Arizona and also earned First Team All-Pro Honors in 2013 and 2015. In 2017, Bethel combined for 41 tackles and an interception.

While Bethel may not start at cornerback, he will definitely be used as a primary kick and punt returner.

This signing comes in handy after kick returner Andre Roberts signed with the New York Jets in free agency.

Bethel being available at cornerback for Atlanta helps remove concerns when they face the injury bug. In 2017, the Falcons had injuries to Desmond Trufant and Brian Poole.

Trufant is Atlanta’s star cornerback and when he went down, worries arose about how the NFL’s ninth-ranked defense would be able to hold its own.

If Poole remains healthy enough to back up Trufant, Bethel can assist on cornerback Robert Alford‘s side of the field in the case of injury. Don’t be surprised, though, if Bethel takes Poole’s spot behind Trufant.

Bethel’s versatility on special teams will also help the Falcons in a much-needed area of improvement. A reason for many of the Falcons’ three and outs in 2017 was their inability to earn solid field position after kickoffs and punts.

Roberts would often only get to the 10- or 15-yard line or even return the ball in inappropriate situations.

The Falcons have been doing an exceptional job of addressing needs in free agency prior to the NFL Draft next month.

They re-signed kicker Matt Bryant, brought back defensive end Derrick Shelby after the departure of Adrian Clayborn to the Patriots and signed guard Brandon Fusco and tight end Logan Paulsen from the 49ers.