Running back/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson agreed to a two-year deal to re-sign with the Falcons on Saturday, according to his agent.
The Falcons’ plan was to focus on re-signing their own players and then do some value shopping after all of the blockbuster deals are done. NFL media first reported Patterson’s deal.
After losing linebacker Foye Oluokun (Jaguars), wide receiver Russell Gage (Bucs) and long snapper Josh Harris (Chargers, the Falcons were able to retain Patterson, one of their more potent weapons on offense last season, cornerback Isaiah Oliver, guard Colby Gossett, defensive tackle Anthony Rush and kicker Younghoe Koo.
The Falcons were in the derby to trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson, but found out he was headed for Cleveland on Friday.
The Falcons also signed cornerback Casey Hayward, offensive lineman Elijah Wilkinson, cornerback Teez Tabor and running back Damien Williams, who’s deal is worth $1.62 million with $500,000 signing bonus.
In other free-agency moves, outside linebacker Dante Fowler reunited with former Falcons coach Dan Quinn in Dallas. Offensive tackle-guard Matt Gono signed with the Giants and former tight end Hayden Hurst signed with the Bengals.
The other free agents on the open market are guard Josh Andrews, linebacker Daren Bates, wide receiver Christian Blake, defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard, linebacker Brandon Copeland, tight end Jaeden Graham, safety Duron Harmon, free safety Erik Harris, quarterback A.J. McCarron, defensive end Steven Means, cornerback Fabian Moreau, quarterback Josh Rosen, wide receiver Tajae Sharpe and offensive tackle Jason Spriggs.
The Falcons went into the 2021 season with plans to have Mike Davis as the lead running back in a committee set-up. The carries eventually went to Patterson. The Falcons finished 31st in the NFL in rushing, at 85.4 yards per game. In 2020, the Falcons rushed for 95.8 yards per game and were ranked 27th in rushing.
The Falcons coaching staff cracked the code on how to use Patterson, who was a former first-round draft pick as a wide receiver and one of the game’s top kickoff returners and four-time All-Pro. Patterson rushed 153 times for 618 yards (4.0 per carry) and six touchdowns. He also caught 52 of 69 targets for 548 yards and five touchdowns. He had 205 touches for 1,166 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Patterson signed a one-year contract for $3 million with the Falcons on April 15. A total of $1.7 million was guaranteed.
Patterson had career highs in carries (153), rushing yards (618) and receiving yards (548). He tied his career high in catches with 52.
Patterson turned 31 on Thursday.
In addition to keeping one of their only weapons, the Falcons must improve the blocking along the offensive line.
“It wasn’t the season we wanted, but we had some good and some bad,” Patterson said late last season. “You know, we just have to keep building off the good and just try to move forward to next year.”
The Falcons missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season and had their fourth consecutive losing season. However, Patterson believes the Falcons did lay the foundation for brighter future.
“Just the foundation (coach Arthur Smith) is building and the chemistry that he has with these guys in this locker room on and off the field,” Patterson said. “So, I’d be a fool not to want to play for Arthur. He’s a great, he’s a great coach, a great guy. So, we’ll see what happens.”
Patterson didn’t mind switching to play more at running back.
“Honestly, man, whenever my number is called I’m going to go out there and carry the load,” Patterson said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Week 1 or Week 18.”
He doesn’t have a preference and got used to the extra contact at running back.
“Not now,” Patterson said. “I’m a different beast out there on a football field and like I said, no matter how many carries I get, the physical part, just comes with the territory. I love it.”
Patterson was not overly impressed with his “breakthrough” season.
“Honestly, not really,” Patterson said. “I mean, football is football, I guess. People let it get to them too much. But like I said I’ve got to thank the coaches for just giving me a chance. I didn’t play in (exhibition) season so I couldn’t really say about camp. They trusted me not to play me in (exhibition) season games and gave me an opportunity the whole season to go out there and make plays.”
Patterson caught a 50-yard bomb up the right sideline to help the Falcons get into position for the game-winning field goal against New Orleans on Nov. 7. He said that was his favorite moment of the season.
“I had a good couple good catches that week,” Patterson said. “It was fun.
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