(AP photo by Kevin Terrell)
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Falcons have agreed to terms with veteran defensive end Derrick Shelby on a one-year contract.
Shelby spent the past two seasons in Atlanta, but he was released by the Falcons prior to the start of free agency. The reunion of Shelby with the Falcons gives the team another reliable piece on the defensive line, an area where they are thin at this point in the offseason.
In 2017, Shelby saw action in 16 games and tallied 30 total tackles, one sack, and three tackles for loss. Shelby appeared in six games for the Falcons in 2016, his first season with the team, and recorded eight tackles before suffering a torn Achilles that sidelined him for the rest of the year.
Bringing back Shelby fits into the Falcons' main focus in free agency, which is to re-sign their own players or sign players who have experience in head coach Dan Quinn's system. At Georgia's pro day, general manager Thomas Dimitroff explained the Falcons' approach.
"We want to continue to re-sign our football players, because we know them well," Dimitroff said. "We know that they come up through Quinn's system and they buy in, and that's a big thing. Instead of just going out randomly and looking for players from other football teams, we'd love to continue to re-sign our football players, which is a big part of our free agency push this year." Shelby entered the NFL in 2012 after signing with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of Utah. In his career, Shelby has played in 85 games with 27 starts, while posting 142 total tackles, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles, two interceptions, one fumble recovery, and one defensive touchdown.