Falcons sign veteran DE James Smith-Williams to a one-year deal

The Falcons have added their second defender of the day. Atlanta has signed defensive end James Smith-Williams to a one-year deal, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post.

James Smith-Williams. Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Smith-Williams was a seventh-round pick by the Commanders back in 2020. He ended up playing out his rookie contract in Washington, appearing in 55 total games. After playing mostly on special teams as a rookie, Smith-Williams saw a more significant role on defense over the past three years, appearing in at least 40% of his team’s defensive snaps while serving as Chase Young and Montez Sweat‘s primary backup.

Following a 2022 campaign where the defensive end started all 14 of his appearances while filling in for an injured Young, the 26-year-old started seven of his 13 appearances in 2023, with his playing time seeing an uptick following the Commanders’ DL trades.

Smith-Williams finished this past season with 22 tackles, one sack, and eight QB hits. Pro Football Focus only graded him 87th among 112 qualifying edge defenders, although the site did give him solid grades for his coverage ability.

Smith-Williams has some connections to Atlanta’s regime, as the defensive lineman was drafted when former Commanders vice president of player personnel (and current Falcons assistant GM) Kyle Smith was at the helm.

The edge rusher will likely see a similar role in Atlanta as he did in Washington, serving as a rotational pass rusher alongside Arnold Ebiketie, DeAngelo Malone and Lorenzo Carter.

Earlier Monday, the Falcons provided some depth to the secondary by adding former Packers cornerback Kevin King to the mix.

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