FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Falcons announced Wednesday that they have picked up the fifth-year option on defensive end Vic Beasley's rookie contract.
Beasley, 25, was selected with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and has helped the Falcons improve their pass-rush defense. In 2016, Beasley led the NFL with 15.5 sacks, becoming the first Atlanta player to lead in that category since the league started officially tracking sacks in 1982.
After playing both defensive end and linebacker for the Falcons in 2017, Beasley will move back to the end position permanently for the foreseeable future.
"For a stretch there, we felt the best thing for us to do would be play him in both roles – at [linebacker] and at the nickel defensive end," Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said at the NFL combine. "We're just going to go back to what he does best. At the time, we needed to use him in that role, but we'll feature him as a defensive end all the time in 2018."
By picking up his fifth-year option, the Falcons will have Beasley under contract for the 2019 season. The deadline for NFL teams to pick up fifth-year options for the 2015 draft class is May 3.
In his three seasons with the Falcons, Beasley has started 36 games, recording 94 tackles, 24.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and one defensive touchdown.