AP sources: Falcons to sign Jessie Bates, get Jonnu Smith
The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to a four-year, $64 million contract with safety Jessie Bates, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal can’t be announced until Wednesday.
The Falcons also agreed to acquire tight end Jonnu Smith from the New England Patriots, according to another person familiar with that deal. The Falcons are sending a seventh-round pick to New England, per NFL Network.
Atlanta announced that Pro Bowl guard Chris Lindstrom has signed a five-year contract extension, reportedly making him the NFL’s highest-paid guard.
ESPN reported the deal, which will keep Lindstrom with the Falcons through the 2028 season, is worth $105 million. It locks up another key member of the offensive line, with left tackle Jake Matthews under contract through 2026.
Lindstrom’s average of $21 million per season surpasses Indianapolis guard Quenton Nelson’s $20.2 million annual average.
Bates started 79 games in five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Bates had 14 interceptions, forced three fumbles and recovered two. He was a second-team All-Pro in 2020.
Smith had 27 catches for 245 yards last year. He had his best season in 2020 for Tennessee under Falcons coach Arthur Smith, who was the Titans’ offensive coordinator that season. Smith had 41 receptions for 448 yards and eight TDs that season.
The 26-year-old Lindstrom, a second-team All-Pro in 2022, was Atlanta’s top pick in 2019 out of Boston College. He has started 55 games over his four-year career, only missing time when he went down with a broken foot as a rookie.
Lindstrom was selected to his first Pro Bowl this past season after starting all 17 games at right guard and anchoring a line that opened up holes for the third-best rushing attack in the NFL. The Falcons averaged 159.9 yards per game on the ground.
Pro Football Focus said Lindstrom led all offensive players with a 95.0 grade. He was PFF’s top-graded offensive lineman during four weeks this past season.
Lindstrom has been called for only one holding penalty in his career.
The contract extension for Lindstrom is expected to be part of a big spending spree by the Falcons, who went into free agency with roughly $50 million of cap space.
Atlanta is looking to make a big move in 2023 after five straight losing seasons.
AP Sports Writer Paul Newberry contributed to this report.
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