Falcons safety Erik Harris suffered a torn pectoral muscle and is out for the season, NFL Network reported on Monday. The injury occurred in the first quarter of Sunday's 29-21 victory over the host Carolina Panthers, apparently on a run stop relatively early in the period. He played on, but took a knee a few snaps later and didn't come back in the game.
NFLN reports that he'll have surgery to repair the injury.
Harris was a significant defensive contributor, with 12 starts in as many games played. He had 64 tackles, including three for a loss, and eight passes defensed. He also had two quarterback hits.
Harris signed a one-year deal with Atlanta during the offseason and was a regular starter alongside Duron Harmon. He is set to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
Jaylinn Hawkins stepped in after Harris got hurt, and it's fair to expect he'll assume Harris' spot in the starting lineup and become more of a three-down player. The Cal product has shown quality play when given the opportunity and has earn more snaps as the season progressed. Richie Grant could be more of a factor at safety -- he has played more in the slot than anything else -- with Harris unavailable.
The Falcons will likely need to add another safety off the practice squad to shore up the position's depth.