The best and worst free agents signed by Atlanta since 2018

Former general manager Thomas Dimitroff and former head coach Dan Quinn look on before a game
Former general manager Thomas Dimitroff and former head coach Dan Quinn look on before a game / Mark Brown/GettyImages
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The Best Free Agent Signing: Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson
Cordarrelle Patterson in action vs the Steelers / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

In March of 2021, the Falcons signed legendary kick-returner Cordarrelle Patterson to a one-year, $3 million deal. However, Patterson would prove to be much more than a returner.

Patterson did it all for Atlanta in the 2021 season. His $3 million cap hit was a bargain, which Terry Fontenot is quite good at finding.

In the 2021 season, Patterson rushed for 618 yards and six touchdowns on 153 carries. In the passing game, Patterson caught 52 passes for 548 yards and five touchdowns. On his own, "flash" totaled over 1,100 all purpose yards and accounted for 11 touchdowns, all while on a very cheap and team-friendly deal.

Patterson also contributed in the kick return game, as expected. Patterson returned 18 kickoffs for 434 yards.

Patterson has been a star off the field, too. The ex-Chicago Bear quickly became a fan favorite and fans urged Atlanta to re-sign him.

However, Fontenot would only re-sign Patterson if it was a reasonable deal. In March of 2022, a deal was struck. The Falcons re-signed Patterson on a two-year, $10.5 million contract.

In 2022, Patterson ran for 695 yards and eight touchdowns on 144 attempts. Patterson saw a drop-off in production in the passing game where he caught 21 passes for 122 yards. In Patterson's defense, he did miss a large portion of the season due to injury and was not utilized much at receiver.

In the return game, Patterson broke the record for most kick-returns in NFL history this past season. (9), and racked up 284 yards on nine returns.

The signing of Cordarrelle Patterson may prove to be one of the best free agent signings in NFL history, let alone Falcons' history. The price Atlanta paid for him combined with the production they got makes it one of the best signings in recent NFL history.

Honorable mention: kicker Younghoe Koo. Koo signed with Atlanta in October of 2019 to replace the legendary Matt Bryant after spending time with the Chargers and the Patriots.

Since then, Koo has been one of the most reliable kickers in the league, but has not been as impactful as Patterson has in my opinion. Koo agreed to a five-year, $24.25 million extension with the Falcons during the 2022 offseason.